25% of Bahrainis succeed in quitting smoking

April 7, 2010

One quarter of the Bahrainis who attend sessions to quit smoking succeed in their endeavours, a health official has said.  

“Out of the 840 people who enlisted to kick the habit, only 25% have been successful,” Dr Kadhim Al Halwachi, the head of the anti-smoking awareness committee, said.

Society should assume a greater role in the fight against smoking and should put moral pressure on smokers to quit, he said.

“I hope that everybody, according to their own capacities, gets involved in the drive to make smoking an unacceptable social phenomenon for the sake of the good health of this and the next generations,” he told a workshop on combating smoking. “There is a serious problem with the increasing number of women who smoke. Many of them do not even admit their addiction to cigarettes and shishas (water pipes),” he said. The state of denial does not help with taking steps towards addressing the addiction.

Al Halwachi said that women make up around one third of the billion people who smoke throughout the world.

Academic studies have concluded that 20 per cent of Bahraini women smoke. However, while some Bahraini women have traditionally smoked al Gedow, a form of shisha, at home or at village meetings, they refrained from smoking cigarettes openly at work and are only occasionally seen smoking in their cars or at restaurants.

No study explained why Bahraini women smoke, but research in neighbouring Saudi Arabia indicated that relief of stress was the most commonly admitted reason for smoking (48.9 per cent), followed by no reason (28.5 per cent), and imitation (12.2 per cent).

Bahrain last year introduced tough anti-cigarette and shisha laws that ban smoking in indoor public places, including restaurants, cafés, hotels and hair salons and on public transport. Coffee shops within 200 metres of homes, hospitals, embassies, educational institutions, government establishments and places of worship are banned from serving shisha.

People smoking in private cars in the presence of children are fined, according to the law.

The legislation outlawed the advertising of cigarettes and the promotion of tobacco-products by manufacturing and importing companies at sports events. Cigarettes can no longer be sold to anyone under the age of 18 years with shopkeepers urged to ask for proof of age if in doubt.

“No Smoking” signs must be displayed in prominent positions in all places where smoking is prohibited and people working in the establishments are tasked with ensuring full compliance.



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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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