13 May, 2006

Smoking Should Be Banned!

Here in Hadhramaut, there are no reliable statistics on how many people do smoke cigarettes or use tobacco in one form or another,, but - I am certain, the number of people who smoke is very high. Including some minors. Almost all male. Here - it is extremely rare for women to smoke. It is a very normal thing to see people smoking in all kinds of public places: hospital wards, schools, public buses, cinema halls, restaurants, hotels and many other such places!

It is not smoking that is the problem; people are entitled to freedom of choice and how they prefer to lead their lives; inspite of smoking's devastating effects! It is the controlling of smokers and tobacco use that is of priority. Yes: cigarette packets have very strong, scary warnings on them and tobacco use is not advertised on TV and radio channels and stations. But, this is not enough! More can be done. More can be done, to to protect innocent members of the public; especially the children and young people from the devastating effects of tobacco use.

Yemen needs to sign, ratify, accept and approve the international treaty for tobacco control; this will be an excellent and meaningful step forward. But most important at the moment: smoking should be banned in all public places. 'No Smoking' areas should be defined. As it is now, there are no laws that does and enforces this. Other people's bad, and harmful habits should not be allowed to harm and kill other innocent people; especially - infants and the very young.