Teen smoking ‘staggering’

    A ‘staggering number of teenagers’ are turning to tobacco use in the United Arab Emirates, a Federal National Council (FNC) session was told on Tuesday, according to a story in The Khaleej Times.

    “Twenty-one percent of the UAE population are into smoking and 15 percent of them are teenagers under the age of 18,” said FNC member Saeed Al Rumaithi.

    Al Rumaithi said it was crucial to launch more anti-tobacco awareness programs in schools because the number of teenage smokers was of massive concern.

    The session looked also at the positive outcomes of initiatives carried out by the National Anti-Tobacco Committee (NATC) formed by the Ministry of Health and Prevention.

    Meanwhile, the Minister of Health and Prevention, Abdul Rahman Mohammed Al Owais, told the session that the issue was “complex”.

    Al Owais said the NATC had already had some success. Fourteen quit-smoking clinics across the UAE had seen a 25 percent increase between 2015 and 2016 in the number of people attending the clinics.

    Furthermore, 20 percent of the people who went to the clinics ended up quitting.

    The NATC had increased by 150 percent the number of doctors specializing in the field.