In the beginning of the year, the prices of all types of tobacco and tobacco products have been doubled in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, following a decision which was adopted by the GCC or Gulf Cooperation Council. The majority of smokers, who had felt that their pockets have been singled out and targeted, did not take lightly to the decision. Where as many of the non smokers, who have been fed up of inhaling the smoke passively, came out to welcome this new move completely. Similar as the case when petrol prices had risen and people rushed to get their hands on as much fuel as they can, the same thing also occurred in nearly every shop which stocks cigarettes and just shows how much of a problem, smoking is in the society as well as the increasing number of people becoming smokers.
Personally, I think that just doubling the prices of the packs of cigarettes is simply not enough, as after the first wave of insecurity about the price, smokers will cut down on other expenditures, however will not cut down on smoking. I think that the price of cigarette packets should be increased substantially like SR 200 per packet. Any smoker who is addicted to smoking will get financially harmed by substantially increasing the price in order to protect him from destroying his life and the health of others. Despite the several campaigns aimed against smoking as well as the health seminars which are held by the public as well as private groups in addition to gross warning through the pictures and the printed words on the cigarette packs, the smokers have increased in number and the habit is also attracting youngsters.
It seems that they are aware of the dangers of smoking and choosing to ignore it or are simply ignorant or blind about it. Several of the people believe that the increase in price of a pack of cigarettes is extremely important as the percentage of the youth who have developed an addiction to smoking has increased. In front of our eyes, we can usually see the youth frequenting shops in order to buy a pack of cigarettes, some who are as young as 14.
Previously, the young boys had found that the price of a cigarette was well within their means and could easily purchase one. In addition to this, being able to easily buy cigarettes encouraged the habit. It can sometimes serve as a rude shock to see the children buying cigarettes from the grocery shops without having any objection or obstacle in their way.
When I had asked a shopkeeper as to why he allows children to buy cigarettes, he stated that fathers usually send their children to go and buy a pack for him. Although this might be the case in some of the families, some of the youth have now started to use this as a perfect excuse in order to buy cigarettes for their personal consumption.
Source: Saudi Gazette
Miscellaneous Information about KSA
- Cigarette Prices are doubled in Saudi Arabia to get SR 20 billion in Taxes
- 10 Myths about Smoking, we should stop believing
- Daughter gets 3000 retweets for father to quit smoking
- SR 200 fine for smoking in Public Areas of Saudi Arabia
- 65% of the Secondary School Girls are addicted to Smoking