Monday, September 3, 2007

Banning Smoking in Oman!!

Many countries worldwide have gone through banning smoking in public and are within the category of “Smoke Free” Countries. This action came out as a result of the increase of people dying either as first hand smokers or as second hand smokers. Also with the increase of cancer cases that are caused mainly by smoking.

I know that England did add her self to the list of Smoke Free countries from the 1st of July of this year. But I was wondering if Oman going to be within that list or where she ever joins it in the future?

Every year there are more people who smoke in Oman and they are mainly as young as 10-11 years to 40-45 years. Infact I don’t have a solid statistics to support my claim, but this is only done out of observation that I have been observing around me when ever I visit home over the holiday period of time. Also I have noticed that the increase in the smoking population is not only within the male gender but as well as the female and it could be more within the female than male; especially in smoking Shisha!

Am not sure but I guess smoking had become a habit that is wide spread across our Omani community as well as worldwide. Although in many places smoking is treated as a habit that is treated to vanish and yet in our communities is the contrary. Although smoking is an old habit that many were on it for a very long time but was also done in secrecy in many occasions, for one normal reason that it was an unacceptable habit by many but in the current life this habit is more or less taken to be as a trend that is introduced in public places such as in Shisha places, smoking in restaurants and shopping malls and selling cigarettes to under age persons despites that requirements of the International Law against serving to under age persons.

Also with the government allowing such places to provide such services to any of their costumers it allows the increase of smokers’ population in the country despite the health advertisements and information provided by the Ministry of Health in regards to the consequences that can lead by smoking!

Sometimes I doubt that our country will really go through banning smoking in public especially that the National Economic does depend on the import of tobacco and the relevant. Although it is not a direct dependency but it has an impact within the economy, and you can evident that by noticing the wide spread of Shisha Licences within the country and how the Legislation changed in the past 3 years from not allowing any place serving Shisha to every where is allowed to serve Shisha.

Another evidence is the cigarettes prices had dropped down and are cheap to buy them, not that I buy any or smoke any but I was told that it is the case, though am not sure how genuine is this information and if its still valid to this moment! Someone can correct me if I am wrong in this, but I will still base my argument on what I have been told.

So, by dropping the prices of cigarettes it’s another way of encouraging people to buy more of them and again this means more sell and more money in the economy baskets.

Its like what UK had had in their economy baskets, they depend on the selling of various things especially the imported stuff, but their main sell depends on selling cigarettes & tobacco and alcohol. Yet, they managed to extract themselves of the 100% demand on selling tobaccos and find other sources to cover their loss; and that’s for the sake of people’s health and trying to encourage their people to quit smoking and providing them with free services to help them quitting.

AND the question still remains, are we ever to follow other countries in bringing the health foot forward and ban smoking in public or ignore the health foot and bring the economies foot forward and step hard on it for the sake of the investors interests?!

P.S. I’ve typed the above based on knowledge that I’ve been picking up from the surroundings from my visits to Oman and not based on solid statistics or evidence. However, I will be grateful if any one of you has any solid information in regards to this topic that could be of use and benefits to us all and that can enlighten our thoughts.


Twister said...

In Australia the government has gone real hard on smokers (my observation) the university, there are boards put up which prohibit smoking within a 10-meter radius of the university buildings....u cant smoke in ANY covered place (even a bus-stand with a shed on top)...and the last nail in the coffin was banning smoking in all closed spaces, including pubs/bars/clubs...taxes on cigarettes are very high, meaning they are expensive, and they cigarette boxes have graphic pictures of diseases caused by smoking as a potential deterrent...

Something similar should be brought into force in oman...

muscati said...

Oman has a law banning selling of tobacco to anyone under 18. Have you ever heard of any shop being fined or closed for violating this law? Have you ever seen a shop keeper refuse to sell cigarettes to a kid?

Oman has been speaking about a ban on public smoking since 2004 and it is yet to happen. Even if such a law is passed, do you think it will be enforced?

When it comes to smoking we are pathetic. Restaurants don't even have designated smoking and non-smoking areas. Our newspapers and magazines still carry cigarette adverts. The government doesn't do anything to promote awareness of the harms of tobacco smoking other than the usual posters inside hospitals and health centers. Instead of banning sheesha, the municipality makes money from selling sheesha licenses to coffee shops.

Solafa said...

Twister: Its the same case in here in the UK.

Many are not happy about this new Law, but some are finding it an excuse to quit smoking and this is good for the sake of every ones health.

I am hoping that this new Law will be set and get implimented soon in Oman, but it does not seem the case yet!

Solafa said...

Muscati: I didn't know that the Law of banning have been on the hearings since 2004, i guess that goes back to my lack of knowledge of the national news.

Fact: yes i have seen a shop keeper selling cigs. to under 18 years old, but never witnnesd a shop got fined or closed for such reason!

As i said the terms of seeing such Law of banning smoking in Oman is will not take place in the near future rather will be thought about it for the far future, espceially as what you said in regards allowing coffee shops to own the Licenses to sell sheesha and other smoking ... and that the government is making muoney out of it!

which indicates that the priority is given to the economy status over the public health or on the acount of the public health. [this is really sad].

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