The National Committee Against Smoking and Tobacco held its first meeting on Monday under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Dr Omar Razzaz, the committee's chairman, and in the presence of Her Highness Dina Mired Princess of Jordan and representatives of the World Health Organisation.
The Prime Minister stressed that the committee will combat this dangerous phenomenon and its negative impact on society, especially for young people.
According to statistics from the World Health Organisation, Jordan has one of the highest rates of smokers in the world, with more than 70 per cent of males smoking in 2015. It is the highest rate in the region and the second in the world after Indonesia.
Statistics also indicate that 9,000 people die every year in Jordan as a result of diseases caused by smoking, while the total amount spent on smoking reaches about 1.6 billion Jordanian dinars or about 6 per cent of the gross national product, compared with the global rate of about 1.8 per cent.
The Prime Minister also stressed on the need to make efforts to combat this issue, which has a very serious impact on the health and future of upcoming generations. He pointed out that the committee will develop a work program and procedures according to a timetable to reduce this phenomenon.
Razzaz emphasised the importance of strengthening awareness and precautionary measures to make young people aware at an early age of the dangers of smoking and its addiction, especially that quitting smoking is more difficult than starting an addiction.
The Committee stressed the need to implement the Public Health Law, prevent smoking in public and closed areas, starting with ministries, public institutions, schools and universities. It will also prevent the sale of tobacco to children, and implement a series of measures to raise awareness and strengthen of the role of clinics that encourage quitting cigarettes.
Princess Mired warned against the dangers of smoking in Jordan on the health of Jordanians and young people in particular. She pointed out that, during her work as Director General of the King Hussein Cancer Centre over the past years, she followed up the expensive costs of treatments for cancers caused by smoking as well as other smoking-caused diseases, such as heart and arteries diseases and diabetes.
Mired also expressed her confidence that this committee will have a positive effect on saving the lives of hundreds of thousands of young Jordanians. She thanked the Prime Minister for giving the required priority to this issue, especially that 70 per cent of men and about 45 per cent of young people in Jordan are addicted to smoking.