Muscat: About 20% of adults in the Sultanate of Oman reportedly smoke. Muscat Governorate has the highest percentage in the number of hookah cafes and shops selling tobacco and smoking accessories among the governorates of the Sultanate of Oman.
The world celebrates World No Tobacco Day, which falls on May 31 of each year, to highlight the health risks associated with tobacco use and to call for effective policies to reduce consumption.
Smoking is one of the most important causes that lead to the spread of cancer, and the cause of death of more than 8 million people annually, according to a report from the World Health Organization.
Dr. Ahmed bin Hamad Al-Wahaibi, Senior Consultant Family Medicine at the Ministry of Health spoke to Times of Oman regarding smoking in the Sultanate. The statistics indicates that nearly 20% of adults in the Sultanate of Oman smoke, describing that as a large and dangerous number.
Dr. Al-Wahaibi explained, "That's disappointing because the global survey for the age group from 13-15 years from 2007 to 2016 showed that one out of ten students fell victim to smoking, at a rate of 14.5% for males and 5.7% for females, using various types of chewing tobacco, cigarettes and hookahs.”
He continued:”As for the electronic cigarette, The vape, the study indicates that 5.3% of the students smoke it, and that 26.6% of the students bought it from within the Sultanate of Oman.”
Regarding the effect of tobacco in the short term, Al-Wehaibi explained, "When a person smokes cigarettes or whatever form of tobacco, the body responds immediately to the chemical nicotine present in the smoke, and causes the following symptoms in the short term: high blood pressure, increased heart rate, increased blood flow outside of the heart, narrowing of the arteries.”
In his speech, he also mentioned that passive smoking leads to the death of at least 3,000 people annually due to lung cancer in the United States of America.
He explained that the passive smoking refers to the inhalation of cigarette smoke by non-smokers.
Regarding the harmful effects of smoking, Al-Wahaibi stated, “The cost of treating diseases caused by smoking far exceeds the revenues from tobacco taxes imposed by countries at the global level, and experts say that health care costs and wasted productivity exceed one trillion dollars annually worldwide.”
The cost of treating a smoker who has a respiratory infection for one day is estimated at approximately OMR 355.
On the extent of the spread of hookah cafes and shops selling tobacco and smoking accessories in the Sultanate of Oman, the National Center for Statistics and Information, ( NCSI ) revealed that the number of hookah cafes in 2021 reached about 3516 cafes, a decrease of 8% from 2020.
As for shops selling tobacco and smoking supplies, their number reached 2,367, an increase of 16% over 2020.
As for the distribution of these cafes and shops in the governorates, Muscat is the first governorate with 35% for hookah cafes and 33% for tobacco and smoking supplies stores.