As the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is preparing for the Haj pilgrims, and millions of Muslims are going to visit the holy land, the ministry of health has released its campaign to make Makkah and Madina completely free from tobacco.Sameer Al-Sabban, executive director of the Anti-Smoking Campaign in Makkah, said “We require the cooperation of pilgrims to make the two holy cities among those with the lowest tobacco consumption in the world,” and he also added that they will intensify the program for this year.
Selling tobacco has been forbidden around the Grand Mosque in Makkah and Madinah in a five km radius. Posters and information about anti-smoking clinics and fatwas have been displayed in the two cities. Also fliers, pamphlets and stickers will be on the buses that carry the pilgrims to their destination to the Jamrat area.
Al-Sabban commented “A team of scouts and health officials have taken positions at the Grand Mosque in Makkah to raise awareness about the health risks caused by this ugly habit. It’s a pity that smokers gather at the back side of the Grand Mosque to smoke which is hazardous to the entire environment of the holy city. These Saudi youths look for smokers within the holy city and politely give them Miswaks and booklets full of illustrations which can be understood by all people”
The ministry has established six anti-smoking clinics in the holy city, which are open for free to all pilgrims, men and women. Dr. Al- Sabban stressed that Makkah is the perfect place to give up smoking. He added that one million of the five million people around the world, dying from smoking are Muslims. He said “This is mainly because of their extravagant lifestyles and lack of knowledge of the hazards of smoking”. He also added that the smokers do not only harm themselves but also whoever around, and that what is called passive smoking. Saudi physicians and psychiatrists will be assisting the campaign, beside some of famous websites regarding the campaign’s promotion.