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Saudi Arabia

1.5 million Saudi women smoke!

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The online news outlet,, recently published a disturbing report which claimed that there are 1.5 million female Saudi smokers in the Kingdom. The statistic was issued by Fatimah Al-Shaikh, public relations officer at the Smoking Awareness Society (Kafa). Al-Shaikh presented this and other statistics at a seminar held by the Ministry of Health to educate the public about contagious diseases and methods of prevention.

The figure is frightening and indicates that our society is transforming itself in an undesirable manner. Hearing about or seeing Saudi women smoking used to be a rarity. Of course, I am not suggesting that it is okay for men to smoke or that it is part of our culture and social traditions for men to smoke. The statistics also showed that there are some 4.5 million male Saudi smokers in the Kingdom. This is painful and annoying as well.

The number of female Saudi smokers indicates that our society and culture are quickly evolving. Unfortunately, it is estimated that the figure will increase over time which means we need to come up with new ways to monitor and deal with this problem. We are living in a fast developing world. Young people living in remote villages are able to keep up with the latest developments around the world from the comfort of their homes.

Let us ignore the health impact of smoking on women for a moment and focus on our social and cultural reality. I believe many of the social problems that take place in our homes are due to the fact that only a few families teach their children to be straightforward and to communicate their feelings.

Most families do not have these characteristics; the different members of the family have little in common except that they live under the same roof. There is no direct communication among them. Each member lives his or her own life, has a different set of friends and different sets of behavior. Sometimes a member of the family does not know anything about the other members of the family.

Saudi families have been sucked into the materialistic aspects of the world and are influenced by the media.


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