CAIRO: The anti-smoking campaign spearheaded by the “Life Without Smoking society (“Haya Bila Tadkheen ) is pressing ahead for the third year with some new features to keep it abreast of global moves aiming to eradicate smoking altogether.
The campaign is into its third week at Maadi Club and is scheduled to start at Cairo University as well as other sports clubs and academic institutions, where larger gatherings of young smokers would be targeted.
The Maadi-based Community Service Association has devoted its efforts to spreading awareness about the health hazards of smoking and ways to help smokers quit.
When it first launched, the campaign, sponsored by El Araby Group, brought a number of well-known speakers in the media field to give lectures on the subject. It also set up a competition – with awards offered by El Araby – to the fastest and most determined participants who quit smoking.
Life Without Smoking also took its campaign further by hosting a large number of sports and media figures as well as movie stars, some of whom have quit smoking as a result of the campaign.
Stars like Hanan Turk and Mona Abdel Ghani, football players like Hady Khashaba and Hazem Imam as well as scholars like Zaghloul El Naggar, Ibrahim El Fiki and others were invited to discuss the issue from social, religious and psychological perspectives. Speakers stressed that smoking is prohibited by religion – Dar El Iftaa has issued a fatwa reaffirming the Islamic stance.
While explaining that 75 percent of one puff of a cigarette is inhaled by passive smokers, El Fiki gave a live presentation on how he would persuade smokers to quit this addiction.
The society, which claims to be the only one in the Middle East that is exclusively devoted to the issue, was given a fillip when the Peoples’ Assembly approved a law banning smoking in all public places.
But is seems the new law is falling on deaf ears.
“No one is abiding by the ban, said Mohamed Abdel Moneim, Life Without Smoking’s human resource manager. “In spite of the fact that people were informed about the ban many were found smoking in shops but the authorities didn’t seem to bother, said Abdel Moneim while adding that awareness remains the most significant of all tools.
“I know that the effect of our campaigns is limited but it is important to maintain our efforts to keep the issue in the back of people’s minds. Wherever we go, we win over at least 51 smokers. We have managed to issue a decision banning smoking within the premises of Cairo University, he added.
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