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Mecca and Medina, Tobacco-Free Cities
Date : 03 November 2010

The Saudi Ministry of Health has intensified its campaign to make Mecca and Medina tobacco-free cities while Hajj pilgrims are flocking to the holy sites from worldwide. In this frame, Dr. Sameer Al-Sabban, the executive director of the Anti-Smoking Campaign in Mecca, said that they “require the cooperation of pilgrims to make the two holy cities among those with the lowest tobacco consumption in the world”.

The sale of tobacco is prohibited and is considered as a violation of the law in the five-km radiuses of the Grand Mosque and Holy Mosque in Mecca and Medina. Further, to intensify the campaign, flyers and posters with anti-smoking slogans, information regarding anti-smoking clinics and fatwas on the harms and dangers of smoking have been displayed in the two holy cities.

Mr. Al-Sabban added saying that “a team of scouts and health officials have taken positions at the Grand Mosque in Mecca to raise awareness about the health risks caused by this ugly habit,”. He said that pilgrims gather at the back side of the Grand Mosque to smoke and he pointed to the ugliness and harmful results of this bad habit.

As part of the services offered during this campaign, the ministry has set up six anti-smoking clinics in Mecca to help pilgrims quit this bad habit.

Mr. Al-Sabban said that Mecca is the ideal place to quit the bad habit of smoking and that 1/5 who die because of smoking are Muslims. He insisted on the necessity of the awareness about the harmful effects of smoking saying that smokers do not only harm themselves but they also harm other people.


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