The Ministry of Public Health in Tunisia has re-launched a programme which it hopes will encourage its citizens to stop smoking.
First launched in 2016, the “Yakfi” campaign comes as part of the cooperation between the Ministry of Public Health, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
As part of “Yakfi”, the Arabic words for “enough”, a free phone number has been issued to help support those wishing to quit smoking.
Health Minister Imed Hammami told Shems FM that the campaign offers six weeks of support during the weaning period with ongoing monitoring of the goals and commitments.
The “Mobile Tobacco Cessation” which represents the end of smoking using smart phone apps will be applied through SMS interaction. “This action is the first axis of the project to promote health through modern technologies,” the ministry added.
According to Hammami, the proposal was presented to the government along with a pitch for an amendment to the anti-smoking law.
According to the ministry’s statement broadcasted by Mosaique FM, the new measures proposed will include a ban on the sale of cigarettes to those under 18, a ban on the sale of cigarettes near schools and hospitals and a total ban on smoking in cafes, restaurants and other public spaces.
Those who smoke in unauthorised places will be fined just over $20, double the previous fine of $10.
Annually more than 6,900 Tunisians die as a result of diseases linked to tobacco use, while more than 28,000 children and more than 205,9000 adults continue to use tobacco every day.