Abu Dhabi: An alarming 24.3 per cent of smokers across the emirate of Abu Dhabi are between the ages of 13 to 15, confirmed a Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD) official.

The authority aims to help encourage adults to quit, and youth to refrain from the habit. The HAAD for the first time, has launched a four-step anti-smoking outreach programme during Ramadan.

"This is the first time we are holding an anti-smoking media campaign, where we spread our message through 13 different anti-smoking advertisements that are aired on the television and the radio. We also have roll-ups in governmental entities and malls, and are in close contact with the print media. We hope that we reach out to 75 per cent of smokers across the emirate of Abu Dhabi," Dr Aysha Al Daheri, Senior Regional Officer, Health Promotion at the HAAD, told Gulf News.

One in five

World Health Organisation statistics reveal that worldwide, about 1.35 billion people smoke, that is one out of every five people. The world population statistic in 2009 stood at 6.8 billion, meaning almost 20 per cent of the world's population smokes.


To complete the four-step programme, members of the public are invited to receive treatment in any of the Smoking Cessation Clinics at any of the Ambulatory Healthcare Services (AHS) facilities — a Seha health system facility.

"We started the programme from the beginning of Ramadan because we believe that if a person can avoid smoking for 14 to 15 hours during the first, second and third day of fasting, nicotine will start to reduce by default, and this can help encourage a person to quit. We plan to continue our outreach programme to after Ramadan," explained the HAAD official.


- 24.3% of males between the ages 13 to 17 smoke in Abu Dhabi

- 42% of males above 17 smoke

- 23% of males and 2.9% of females across the UAE smoke