*Health Ministry launches national initiative to combat smoking

The Ministry of Public Health has confirmed that it is working with its partners to reduce tobacco consumption in Qatar by 30% by 2022 and identified it as a national target within the National Health Strategy 2018-2022.
During Doha Healthcare Week taking place November 6 to 12, the Ministry of Public Health highlights the efforts of the State to combat smoking, through which health awareness messages are introduced in an innovative way to urge people to stop consuming tobacco, and encourage them to adopt healthy lifestyles. Some 32% of Qatar men smoke.
Head of the HMC Tobacco Control Center, Dr Ahmed Mohamed al-Mulla said that the ministry and health sector institutions are working on adopting a number of important initiatives aimed at encouraging people to stop smoking.
Dr al-Mulla explained that the Ministry and health sector institutions are keen to enhance the use of smoking cessation services.
He called on smokers to take advantage of the services of the Center for Smoking Control at the Hamad Medical Corporation accredited by the World Health Organisation in addition to smoking cessation clinics in the primary health care centres to help them quit smoking.
The Ministry of Public Health, in cooperation with Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) and the Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC), is implementing a national campaign to reduce the effects of smoking and the consumption of other tobacco products.
The campaign aims to encourage people to abide by the Tobacco Control Law, and to guide people to useful ways to quit.
Law No. 10 of 2016 on the control of tobacco and its derivatives deals with laws and penalties governing the handling of tobacco in Qatar.
The campaign also introduced the public to the dangers of tobacco use, including the definition of toxic substances and their relationship to causing cancer and heart disease, as well as the impact of passive smoking, and urged everyone to protect themselves, their children and their families to stop tobacco use in all its forms.
Since the start of the campaign in May and until last October, HMC Tobacco Control Center visited 1500 patients, mostly males, and carried out 739 inspection visits during which 41 violations were recorded.
The number of patients who visited the smoking cessation clinics since the beginning of this year until the end of September reached 2132.
Head of the non-communicable diseases section at the MOPH Dr Kholoud al-Mutawa, said work is continuing within the national campaign to reduce the effects of smoking and the consumption of tobacco products. Two phases are planned to be implemented, the first phase targeting Qatar youth to encourage them to abstain from smoking.
The final phase of the campaign aims to guide people to useful ways to quit smoking.
Dr al-Mutawa confirmed that the Ministry is working towards the optimal implementation of Law No. 10 of 2016. An integrated plan of action has been prepared to implement the law in all areas and shops in Qatar. A national committee has been established to decide on requests for permits to license shops for consumption of tobacco and shisha.
The HMC's Tobacco Control Center offers specialised medical programs to help stop smoking. Appointments can be made by calling 16060.
People who want to quit smoking can also make an appointment at PHC health centers by calling 107.

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