Smoking A Reflection Of A More Serious Disease

During the past 7 years, I wrote in newspapers and different magazines, dozens of articles about smoking and its lethal disadvantages on individuals and their communities, and each year I visit our beloved country to only see that smokers have increased, in spite of the existing efforts on many levels, where as the number of smokers in the United states (The biggest exporter of cigarettes in the world) has decreased day by day, as it went from 41% beginning of the 90’s to less than 15%, and today, you would find few smoking Americans from the educated levels, but even the look towards smokers became that of a lower one (citizens of 2nd class) and they are considered outcasts.


I have recently read that numbers of smokers from males and females in Saudi is estimated around 6 million with a daily spend of 3,5 million (1 Billion a year) to buy tobacco with all its varieties, what astonished me in the numbers of smokers is that we have excluded the numbers of children below 10 years of age, 6 million constitutes more than half of the population.


And previously I have focused my articles on the negatives health effects of smoking such as cancers, heart diseases, The respiratory system, Sexual impotency and many others that will effect humans from head to toe, and where I used to encourage smokers to quit smoking by reminding them of how it goes against at least 3 of the 5 Islamic traditions, as it goes against caring of the self and saving money.


Others (including me) view it going against the 4th aims of Islamic traditions which is saving the mind, due to the loss of mind control in their ability to concentrate if they choose not to smoke, and there are scientific studies that found some resemblance between smoking and some drugs (from the aspect of how the brain functions not the mental effects).


I also used to mention the financial and economical effects of smoking to individuals and communities, where each riyal spent by smokers to satisfy their addiction, is costing the community at least another riyal to treat the complications of smoking on long term basis.


And to show the financial effects of smoking, it costs Americans more than a 100 billion dollars a year even though the percentages of smokers is only 15%, one can only imagine the consequences ahead of the percentage in the Arab world which exceeds 50% in some countries.


What is spent by the Saudi community on tobacco is actually much more than a billion a year if we added the complications of smoking, its treatment and the years of age that are lost in diseases and deaths from smoking.


And although I still believe that we are falling short in guidance and awareness towards the negative effects, and where we need to double efforts, but I started to recently to view an increasing phenomena of smoking in our countries with much examination and depth, and saw what I have missed from before.


I saw men, women and youngsters puffing poison to kill worries; I saw deep carelessness and frustration.


I saw cheapness towards souls and human values and their role to life.


I saw deicidal groups for some segments of the community and its layers.


Yes… We failed in fighting smoking and other have succeed (such as America) which is a reflection to a more serious disease than smoking has infected the individual in their most precious holdings, that is, the feeling of their values as human beings and their role in making life.


And so I will continue with my message as a doctor in fighting against smoking with all ways available to me, although I know inside of me that the real battle against smoking starts there away from sight… starts inside of people when  they sense their value, role and message, only then their lives becomes valuable, and only then will they want to quit smoking and everything that would waste another day in their life, only then… will the individual win and the community will win on its fiercest enemies.


Until that day, the upper hand stays for smoking, killing communities left and right.