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Stop smoking

Dec 02,2018 - Last updated at Dec 02,2018

The Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs’ Iftaa Department in Jordan has  issued a timely fatwa (religious edict) on Wednesday, declaring that smoking electronic cigarettes and argileh (water pipe)  is just as bad as smoking traditional tobacco products and is therefore prohibited by Sharia. The fatwa in question mentioned that both habits cause serious damage to one’s health and are economically wasteful. The fact that the Iftaa Department has targeted smoking habits in the country, in all its forms, is most encouraging and commendable. 

Tobacco-related practices in the country, including now the fashionable electronic cigarettes, are wreaking havoc on people’s health and expenses.  

According to the Department of Statistics (DoS), 61 per cent of Jordanians are smokers, with electronic cigarettes widely marketed as a substitute for tobacco products.  The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation are already on record as saying that smoking in all its forms, including the electronic kind, are harmful to one’s health and can cause death. 

The fatwa against electronic cigarettes, and by necessary implication other tobacco smoking habits, is based on the Koranic verses which stipulate that “what is evil” should be prohibited and calls on people not to “cast themselves into ruin with their own hands”. According to the DoS, spending on tobacco related products had reached more than JD600 million in 2016. The average annual family spending on smoking is about JD500. The figures released for 2016 are projected to apply for the following years, if not more. It is now well documented that smoking is responsible for the deaths of 3,100 Jordanians in 2018, which means that more than 60 people die each week from tobacco smoking. 

The fact that the Iftaa Department has stepped in to combat the evils of cigarettes and other tobacco-related habits can be expected to discourage the faithful to stop their dangerous and wasteful habit of smoking, in whatever form it takes, where other forms of persuasion have failed till now. The greater majority of Jordanians are religiously-oriented and maybe this time the resort to religious edicts can make a difference, at last, and reverse the tide of smoking cigarettes. 

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