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‘Money spent on tobacco in Jordan can build 8 hospitals’

By JT - Apr 16,2015 - Last updated at Apr 16,2015

AMMAN — Jordanians annually spend JD508 million on tobacco, which is enough to build eight hospitals, Jordan National Anti-Smoking Society President Mohammad Shreim told the Jordan News Agency, Petra, on Thursday.

Smoking is an “epidemic” that is not yet listed among the health priorities of the local and regional community, Shreim said in previous remarks to The Jordan Times, adding that the habit is not receiving enough attention as a major threat to health and quality of life.

The ratio of male smokers aged between 13 and 15 has decreased from 17.4 to 17.3 per cent, and from 6.6 to 6.5 per cent for female smokers, according to statistics from the Health Ministry’s awareness directorate, Petra reported.

Official figures also show that more non-smokers are being affected by passive smoking in public places, rising from 53.6 to 65.4 per cent.

The ratio of smokers between the ages of 12 and 16 stood at 26 per cent, while 36 per cent of those over 25 years old are smokers, according to Shreim.

The ministry’s awareness directorate took the figures from a US Centres for Disease Control study last year, and authenticated them in accordance with World Health Organisation standards, according to Petra.

Under the Public Health Law, 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.

The law also stipulates that 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.

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