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Fight against smoking to take centre stage in 2015 — Princess Dina

By Dana Al Emam - Dec 24,2014 - Last updated at Dec 24,2014

AMMAN — The year 2015 will be dedicated to the fight against smoking, according to HH Princess Dina Mired, director general of the King Hussein Cancer Foundation (KHCF).

Citing smoking as a main contributor to causing cancer, Princess Dina called on authorities and stakeholders to cooperate in enforcing the Public Health Law, adding that those willing to stay healthy as much as possible must not be forced into passive smoking.

Under the law, passed in 2008, smoking is prohibited in hospitals, healthcare centres, schools, cinemas, theatres, libraries, museums, public and non-governmental buildings, public transport vehicles, airports, closed playgrounds, lecture halls and any other location to be determined by the health minister.

Any person caught smoking in a public place is subject to between one week and one month imprisonment or a JD15-JD25 fine. The same penalties apply to those who sell cigarettes to minors.

The KHCF and the King Hussein Cancer Centre (KHCC) have recently invited applications to the “Smoke-Free Zone” Certificate 2015, an initiative that encourages companies, institutions and restaurants to provide a healthy and smoke-free environment for their employees and customers, according to the centre’s website.

The deadline to apply is May 31, 2015, marking World No Tobacco Day. 

“The KHCF and KHCC cannot fight this battle alone,” Princess Dina said in recent remarks at a meeting with media practitioners, adding that around 5,000 individuals are diagnosed with cancer annually, with studies expecting the number to double in the coming few years.

Commenting on the effects of smoking on health, Director of the KHCC’s Cancer Control Office Feras Hawari said smoking rates among Jordanians are increasing, adding that over 50 per cent of men in the Kingdom are smokers.

In a phone interview with The Jordan Times on Wednesday, he cited smoking as a key contributor to the spread of non-communicable diseases, including pulmonary and cardiac diseases, as well as diabetes and cancers.

Hawari added that Jordan allocates up to 9 per cent of the gross domestic product for treating non-communicable diseases.

Noting that up to 14 per cent of 12 year olds smoke water pipes (argileh) and cigarettes in the presence of their parents, he urged adults not to allow what is becoming a phenomenon.

“It has been proven that smoking damages the frontal area of the brain which is responsible for judging right from wrong, decision making, intelligence and academic performance,” Hawari said.

“Cardiovascular diseases and cancers cause more than 50 per cent of the deaths in Jordan,” he concluded, stressing the need for further cooperation between private and public stakeholders in the fight against smoking

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