UAE health ministry continues efforts to curb smoking

The UAE's Ministry of Health and Prevention, MoHAP, continues its public health efforts to curb smoking among citizens and residents in the country through the launch of various programmes and initiatives.

One such initiative was the recent launch of a six-week training programme by the ministry for some 500 medical and health professionals within the country. According to MoHAP, the training programme provides healthcare professionals with practical skills to administer smoke cessation services across clinics and health care centres.

The training programme, the ministry noted, was developed according to international standards and guidelines, encompassing the latest treatment methodologies available.

Commenting on the training initiative, Dr. Hussein Abdel Rahman Al-Rand, Undersecretary of the Ministry’s Health Assistant Sector, Health Centres and Clinics, said that the programme seeks to develop doctors' skills in assisting individuals that want to quit smoking. The programme, he added, "comes as part of MoHAP’s constant endeavours, alongside its relevant partners, to reduce the rate of smokers in the country."

These efforts are consistent with the UAE's National Agena 2021 goal of achieving world-class healthcare system within the country. Dr. Al-Rand noted the latest National Health Survey revealed that the rate of smoking among adults has dropped to 18 percent since 2010. According to the survey, the prevalence of tobacco use among both sexes accounted for 9.1 percent of the population - 15.7 percent and 2.4 percent for men and women, respectively.

Prevalence of tobacco use is an indicator that measures the daily consumption of cigarettes and tobacco products among different segments of society of different ages.

The World Health Organisation, WHO, recently published its seventh report on the global tobacco epidemic in which it revealed that there are an estimated 1.1 billion smokers worldwide, around 80 percent of whom live in low- and middle-income countries. The WHO report noted significant progress towards smoking cessation policies implemented by governments, including the UAE - which scored nine out 10 (the highest possible compliance score) for setting smoke-free policies.

The UAE also attained a 'complete policy' rating for its smoking cessation programmes.

Al-Rand attributed such results and outcomes to several government legislative measures, including Federal Law No. 15 of 2009 on tobacco controls, along with excise taxes on tobacco and tobacco products in the country.

The UAE National Agenda was announced in 2010. It aims to reduce the prevalence of smoking and increase the UAE's healthcare system’s readiness to deal with epidemics and health risks.

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