DOHA: Many Sheesha joints in the country could face closure with implementation of the new anti-tobacco law which is expected to be issued very soon, a senior official of the Supreme Council of Health (SCH) said yesterday.
“There is a plan to ban Sheesha outlets in residential areas and near educational institutions due to the serious health hazards posed by this habit. We hope to implement the ban with issuance of the new anti-tobacco law in Qatar,” Dr Al Anoud bint Mohamed Al Thani, manager, Health Promotion and Non communicable Diseases at SCH told The Peninsula.
She was speaking on the sidelines of a seminar at SCH to mark the World Cancer Day.
The official said the new law, which is expected to be issued in the next few months, will prove more effective in SCH’s ongoing campaign against tobacco products.
Smoking and Sheesha are found be major risk factors for several life threatening diseases, especially cancer. About 70 per cent of the cancer cases all over the world are directly linked to smoking and other lifestyle factors.
Qatar has already banned smoking in offices and public places, sale of tobacco products near schools and other educational institutions also remains banned. However, the ban has not been implemented effectively in the absence of stringent regulations.
The official said the new law would have stricter regulations to curb the consumption and sale of all tobacco products in the country. Asked if smoking is on the rise in the country, despite the ban, Al Anoud Al Thani said, latest statistics were not available.
“In September this year, we will launch the Global Adult Tobacco Survey in Qatar, in collaboration with the World Health Organisation,” she said. The school health department at SCH has just completed a survey on smoking among students.
“We are in the process of collecting and analysing the data. The results of this survey will be available very soon,” said Al Anoud. The SCH in collaboration with the Supreme Education Council (SEC) is currently working on a project to introduce healthy food in school canteens. This is expected to be implemented in the next semester.
The official said, to prevent the high incidence of breast cancer in Qatar, SCH is looking for a mechanism to introduce breast cancer tests for all women in Qatar aged above 30 years.
“Currently the primary health centres are conducting such tests but mostly for suspected cases. We are looking for a mechanism to ensure that even women who have no symptoms of breast cancer undergo the tests,” said Al Anoud Al Thani.
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