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Saudi wife files for divorce over smoking

Husband blamed for not respecting "no smoking" marriage term

  • By Habib Toumi, Bureau Chief
  • Published: 09:08 October 13, 2013
  • Gulf News

Manama: A Saudi woman is filing for divorce after she saw her husband smoke “secretly” near their home.

“When we got married four years ago, one of her terms was that I do not smoke,” the husband said. “I do smoke, and I managed to hide it from my wife for four years.

Unfortunately, she saw me smoke secretly as I was standing with a neighbour near our home. She became very agitated and insisted on leaving the house and taking the children,” the husband said, quoted by local news site Al Weam.

The wife was eventually driven to the family home in the Red Sea resort of Jeddah by her brother.

Online reactions ranged between full support to the wife for upholding her principles and her wish not to be associated with a smoker and sharp criticism for her for wrecking her family over a cigarette.

“It is her right not to have a husband who smoked, but she cannot destroy her family in a moment of anger,” Sinam posted. “After all the husband smoked outside and did not bother her at home.”

Sarrah, in another online comment, said that the wife had rushed into a decision that would gravely impact the family.

“We understand her anger, but it cannot be grounds for divorce. She should talk with him and remind her of the terms for their marriage,” she posted.

Court data published in January indicated that Saudi women added divorce to the risks and dangers associated with smoking.

According to a report, more than 100 women in the Western city of Madinah have filed for divorce after their husbands refused or were unable to quit smoking.

“Courts in other cities in Saudi Arabia have also accepted cases filed by unhappy wives who wanted a divorce over the issue of smoking,” Okaz daily said. “Attempts by reconciliation committees to keep the spouses have failed to convince the wives who insisted on smoke-free husbands. The issue is now being addressed before the wedding and several young women in Madinah have rejected marriage proposals from men who smoked,” the daily said, citing a report on the status of smoking-related divorces.

The report was prepared based on studies and research on the effects of smoking on marital relations.

The daily said that around 40 per cent of Saudi university graduates flatly rejected to marry husbands who smoked.

The young women attributed their uncompromising decision not to “marry themselves into a smoking home” to health concerns about themselves, their future husbands and their future children.

A Saudi judge last year ruled that women who suffered as a result of their husbands’ smoking were allowed to file for divorce.

In October 2012, Saudi judges set a new trend in the country by using cigarette smoking as a factor in child custody cases.

“A parent could now lose the custody case if he or she is proven to be a smoker,” a legal official said.
 
“Under the emerging trend, the smoking factor is now being treated like the drinking factor and can decide the outcome of the custody case,” he said.

The court would favour non-smoking parents and would factor smoking into custody cases to protect the child from the negative impact of passive smoking.

According to official figures, Saudi Arabia is home to six million smokers, including around 800,000 teenagers, mainly intermediate and high school students, and 600,000 women.

However, expatriates also account for a significant proportion of cigarette consumption in Saudi Arabia despite the increase in the number of awareness campaigns about health risks related to smoking and passive smoking and the adoption of several legislative restrictions.

Comments (10)

  1. Added 18:02 October 13, 2013

    Married for 4 yrs and she did not know, smokers have such a bad smell emnating from their mouth, how was the husband able to hide it from her for so long, unbelievable, any way both are at fault, both should be held responsible for breaking their marriage and home, 4 years and there seems to be no love between them, very sorry state to be in.

    Shamsher Khan, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 17:52 October 13, 2013

    I totally agreed with khalid, from al khobar, saudia ........they should also reject proposal from reckless drivers !!!! who danger their life, & so many people around.......

    Shami, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 17:49 October 13, 2013

    hi, nonsense! now this type of news are coming!!! he did not cheat !! didnt slept with another women, didnt beat her. And 21 canon salute for that cleric, who said she can take divorce.

    Shami, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 17:48 October 13, 2013

    True love is to help him quit not to leave, Allah forgives everything, but why we dont.

    Kashif, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 17:40 October 13, 2013

    Divorce is not a solution for a problem, Have a chat with Husband and come for a conclusion, Its easy to brake up a marriage life, In the mean time its very hard to start a new life or live alone, There will be many good things to live together, instead of finding a small fault to break up.

    Mubarak, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 15:54 October 13, 2013

    He should have respected the terms and conditions that he signed four years ago and it was wrong, he cheated, it doesn't matter if he was our or at home he lied, but she shouldn't divorce him, instead should she give him a last warning But anyway he broke her trust.

    AHMED, Hunaniyah, East Riffa, Bahrain

  7. Added 15:30 October 13, 2013

    "This must be true love"... A divorce because the husband smokes outside the house?? This will delete all their moments together, nice memories, good things of the marriage and true feelings (obviously not) they had for each other??! There is nothing wrong when the Mom wants to avoid health risks, but I hope, she takes also care that the family gets healthy food, they (including her) are doing sports and the kids dont get junk food and TV all day.

    Claudia, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  8. Added 15:11 October 13, 2013

    It is good to note that the woman are firm on their values and dare to go to the extent of divorse on grounds of husband smoking considering the health hazard it can cause to the children and people around them. A bold step indeed. To have a real impact and dissuade people from smoking, this kind of step has to be followed universally. But what about women who smoke? Are their husbands to divorse their wives? Finally, by way of divorse, are we not depriving our children of the love and affection of the other parent?

    Sumitha Narrayan, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  9. Added 14:57 October 13, 2013

    Trust issues. She wanted a non-smoker spouse and he lied about it. He was no smoking on the sly when she thought he is not lighting up. In this case, i support the wife as that was her condition before marriage but he had lied. When he agreed to those years ago he could have at least made the effort to fully stop. During Ramadan Muslims don't smoke while fasting, and if he could endure not having cigarettes until sundown then he could have finally quit his habit if he really wanted to.

    Farah, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

  10. Added 10:13 October 13, 2013

    Saudi ladies may also reject proposals or consider divorce from reckless drivers who are not only serious threat to lives of other road users but also for their family's and their's lives.

    Khalid, Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia

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