KSU launches campaign for smoke-free campus

A campaign to promote a smoke-free environment at Riyadh’s King Saud University (KSU) and to educate students about the hazards of smoking was launched yesterday.

King Saud University’s National Center for Youth Studies (NCYS) is at the forefront of this awareness campaign, which seeks to cut the number of smokers in different phases and eventually declear the university campus smoke-free in the near future.

Dr. Nazar Hussain Al- Saleh, NCYS’s assistant secretary general and supervisor  of the “KSU  Smoking- Free Environment Project,” said this anti-smoking awareness drive had been launched in cooperation with the Ministry of Health’s anti-smoking program. All faculties and departments of the KSU have joined hands with the NCYS with the pledge to make the campus free from cigarettes and smok. The campaign  is significant keeping in view the threat posed by the growing nunber of students becoming addicted to smoking in the Kingdom.

Saudi Arabia is ranked fifth in the world and the second in the Arab Gulf region in terms of the number of smokers-both men and women.

“Combating smoking is essential,” said Al-Saleh, adding about the third of the population of Saudi Arabia smoke today. Spelling out the salient features of the campaign, Al- Saleh said the program would be implemented in other colleges of the university during the second semester.

The campaign, which has set goals, would include criteria to assess the colleges’ performance in anti- smoking efforts through the end of the term, he added. Prize money in the amount of SR50,000, SR30,000 and SR20,000 will be awarded to the top three participating groups, he added. In addition, anti-smoking awareness weeks will be scheduled on campus, he noted. Al-Saleh pointed out mobile clinics will be available to aid and advise smokers and treat them.

A panel discussion on smoking-cessation programs will be held in the near future. Some documentry films will also be shown to the students and the faculty members, which will teach ways to give up smoking. Al-Saleh called on the KSU community to refrain from smoking in university buildings and elsewhere to help achieve a smoke-free environment. According to an estimate, about 8 million smokers in the Kingdom annually spend more then SR14 billion on cigarettes.

Smoking remains the number one cause of several fatal diseases in the Kingdom, and the number of smokers is sitll increasing in Saudi Araabia, while it is decreasing in the Western world. Head and neck cancer ecperts recommend all people to quit smoking. Established in 2007, NCYS aims to become a global leader in scientific research on youth. It works directly with young people and national, regional and international governmental organizations that are devoted to the social field of study.

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