The squally weather yesterday evening did not matter to hundreds of members of organisations, anti-smoking advocates and health experts including students walking along the Corniche to raise awareness on the dangers of smoking among the public.
Wearing white T-shirts and caps, they treaded along the seafront stretch carrying placards with inscriptions such as “Make every day World No Tobacco Day” and “Smoking causes mouth diseases” uniting with the rest of the world in observance of World No Tobacco Day.
The Anti-Smoking Society in collaboration with the Supreme Council of Health spearheaded the walkathon taking the message of the day to the public.
Though the Society have been conducting various activities such as competitions to celebrate WNTD for eight years now, the walkathon was a first for the group, Mohammedunni Olakara, Chairman of the Anti-Smoking Society, told The Peninsula.
“Smoking is very dangerous, but many people don’t know that. So we want our message to reach the attention of as many people as possible especially teenagers,” Olakara said.
He underlined the importance of making smokers aware of the various detrimental effects of smoking to an individual including diseases, complications and even death.
“Alcohol affects the individual himself, but smoking affects not only the smoker but also the people around him like his family,” he said, referring to second-hand smoking.
Earlier, Dr Muhammad Al Thani, Director of Public Health at the Supreme Health Council also emphasised on the dangers of second-hand smoke in addition to shisha (water-pipe) and suwaikah (smokeless tobacco), which have become very popular not only to citizens but also to residents.
“Tobacco is the single most preventable cause of death in the world accounting for about five million deaths every year,” he said, reminding the public to abide by the Tobacco Law of Qatar.
The highlight of yesterday’s international celebration was an anti-smoking awareness exhibition and free medical services held at the City Centre Doha.
Posters made by students and streamers depicting the negative effects of smoking and the positive effects of quitting in addition to informative clips were showcased for the visitors at the Mall. Brochures on tobacco law, oral effects of tobacco, and harmful consequences of smoking and taking prohibited drugs were also distributed to visitors.
A dozen stands with specialists offering free health checks on blood glucose and blood pressure, body mass index, in addition to tobacco cessation counseling were also made available.
But a stand simulating smoking which shows the amount of nicotine a person inhales with every stick of cigarette he smokes generated much interest among the visitors at the event.
Under the Supreme Health Council the exhibition was made possible through the collaborative efforts of Primary Health Care Department, Hamad Medical Corporation; Al Amal Hospital and Emergency Medical Services Department; Anti-Smoking Society; Cancer Society and the Ministry of Interior.
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