December 24, 2019
Ramallah, Palestine - The CEO and Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Union Construction and Investment Company (UCI) Eng. Khaled Al-Sabawi is pleased to announce the launch of a nationwide anti-smoking campaign in Palestine.
Under the sponsorship of Ahlia Insurance Company, UCI, TABO, MG and Fitafe Restaurant, the campaign demands the implementation of an existing law that bans smoking in public places. UCI and Ahlia Insurance have created an online petition at www.stopsmoking.ps as part of the movement, which was born from the companies’ shared belief in collective social responsibility, to further their role and commitment to the development of Palestinian society.
“While many nations around the world are joining a groundswell of opposition to smoking in public areas, smoking in Palestine is only increasing and continues to afflict our beloved society. It has degenerated into a wide-scale humanitarian issue that continues to affect public health in shocking and devastating ways,” said Eng. Sabawi.
“The smoking epidemic is a serious humanitarian problem, alongside a health, social, economic and psychological issue that threatens Palestinian society. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced, killing more than 7 million people a year,” he added.
Forty percent of Palestinian men between the ages of 17-29 smoke, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics in 2015. The Palestine Economic Policy Research Institute says the monthly expenditure on tobacco and cigarettes of Palestinian households that smoke is higher than their expenditure on education, personal care and leisure activities. It averages that Palestinians spend $450 million dollars (USD) annually on smoking. In addition, WHO details how second-hand smoke causes more than 600,000 premature deaths per year around the world.
In 2005, the President of the Palestinian Authority issued the Anti-Smoking Law No. 25 which prohibits smoking of all forms in public places. Public spaces are defined as places where air solely enters through designated outlets, such as schools, universities, hospitals, clubs, restaurants, meeting halls, galleries, and public transport, among others. The law was approved by the Palestinian Council of Ministers of a Unity Government in 2011, but was never implemented.
Due to the high percentage of smokers in Palestine, the continued practice of smoking in public places is an attack on citizens’ rights to live in a clean environment, free from harm. Through the weight of the online petition and national campaign, the campaign demands the Prime Minister expedite the activation of the 2005 Palestinian Anti-Smoking Law No. 25, issuing executive regulations and the necessary secondary legislation detailed in Article 15. In doing so, Palestine will be free from the destructive effects of smoking and tobacco products.
For more details about the ‘Stop Smoking in Palestine’ campaign, please visit our official website: http://www.stopsmoking.ps.