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Jordanians spend more on tobacco than food, says WHO

By Rayya Al Muheisen - Nov 06,2022 - Last updated at Nov 06,2022

According to the World Health Organisation, Jordanian households spend JD73.6 per month on tobacco-related products (Photo courtesy of

AMMAN — Jordan remains the top country globally for smoking, making Jordanians’ monthly expenditure on tobacco higher than their food spending, The World Health Organisation (WHO) said.

The WHO held a workshop on Saturday to address the media’s role in raising awareness about chronic diseases, according to the WHO Facebook page. 

The WHO pointed out that Jordanian households spend JD73.6 per month on tobacco-related products, whereas the average household’s monthly expenditure on fruits does not exceed JD27, household spending on dairy products and eggs stands at JD38 monthly, spending on meat and poultry stands at JD50 monthly and JD42 on vegetables and legumes, according to local media agencies. 

Local media agencies added that the WHO expressed their concern about “smoking issues” in the Kingdom. 

“Jordan’s smoking rates are the highest in the world. Eighty two per cent of men aged between 18-69 smoke,” the WHO added. 

The WHO added that 66 per cent of men smoke cigarettes and shisha. Another 15 per cent smoke e-cigarettes, according to local media agencies. 

“The health risks of smoking are known for everyone, from respiratory diseases to heart and lung problems,” Abdel Rahman Mustafa, former respiratory disease specialist at the Ministry of Health told The Jordan Times. 

Mustafa, who is also a smoker, said that “e-cigarettes are very tempting for youth, they are flavourful and don’t leave a trace”, said Mustafa. 

“Youth don’t want their parents or teachers to know that they smoke, e-cigarettes are the solution for them,” Mustafa added. 

Mustafa attributed smoking among youth to peer pressure or because they mimic what their parents do. However, youth don’t want to get caught smoking, so they turn to e-cigarettes. 

He also claimed that the actual number of smokers in Jordan is greater than the publicised figures. “Many youths and females don’t admit to smoking, but they actually do,” claimed Mustafa. 

Sahem Hamaida, dentist, agrees with Mustafa’s opinion. 

“As a dentist, I see patients on daily basis who deny being smokers, but I can tell from the condition of their gums and teeth that they smoke,” Hamaida told The Jordan Times. 

Meanwhile, Um Mohammad is a 42-year-old Jordanian woman who is a smoker, but doesn’t admit this deadly habit of hers to people.

She is a mother of two kids and is currently pregnant, in her third trimester, and said that she can’t quit smoking. However, no one knows that she smokes except one of her friends. 

Um Mohammad stated that she is fully aware of the dangers of smoking during pregnancy. However, she said that she can’t quit.

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