Qatar Joins in Commemorating the Fifth Anniversary of the UN Tobacco-Free Financing Pledge Event

The State of Qatar, represented by HE Minister of Public Health Dr. Hanan Mohammed Al Kuwari, actively participated in the meeting commemorating the fifth anniversary of the Tobacco-Free Financing Pledge at the United Nations

Qatar Joins in Commemorating the Fifth Anniversary of the UN Tobacco-Free Financing Pledge Event
Source: Ministry of Public Health

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The event took place yesterday evening on the sidelines of the 2023 UN General Assembly in New York, with the central theme being "There's no room for tobacco in a Net Zero world."

According to the Ministry of Public Health, HE Dr. Hanan Mohammed Al Kuwari reaffirmed Qatar's unwavering commitment to building a tobacco-free future and highlighted the nation's significant achievements in tobacco control, all stemming from its dedication to safeguarding the health and well-being of its citizens.

Her Excellency outlined several milestones in Qatar's tobacco control efforts, notably the substantial reduction in tobacco use. The percentage of youth using tobacco products decreased from 20% in 2004 to 12.1% in 2018, aligning perfectly with the national goal of reducing smoking prevalence by 5% by the end of 2022, in line with the second national health strategy. This reflects Qatar's commitment to a healthier, tobacco-free world.

Her Excellency stated, "One of our key achievements in this regard is the establishment of a robust legal framework. Qatar endorsed and implemented the Tobacco Law in 2016, aligning it with the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. This law prohibits tobacco cultivation and manufacturing within Qatar, allowing only the importation of traditional products. It also imposes restrictions on tobacco-related businesses and trade, including a minimum distance requirement of 1000 meters from schools. Furthermore, smoking in enclosed public places has been banned, and graphic health warnings are mandatory on tobacco packaging."

Her Excellency Dr. Hanan Mohammed Al Kuwari added, "Efforts have also been made to reduce tobacco demand through price increases. Qatar has implemented a comprehensive tobacco product taxation model, encompassing customs and excise taxes, resulting in a 100% increase in the price of all tobacco products. Additionally, we introduced tax stamps to enhance indirect tobacco product taxation and facilitate tracking and tracing of tobacco products."

Her Excellency emphasized Qatar's commitment to increasing awareness and promoting behavioral change, launching a national health awareness campaign targeting at-risk groups, including youth and workers.

"We have also prioritized providing standardized, quality, integrated, and accessible tobacco cessation services. These services are available in both public and private sectors, with 13 out of 31 primary healthcare centers in Qatar currently offering them. Furthermore, HMC's Tobacco Control Center annually treats around 1,200 new patients, trains healthcare professionals and specialists, conducts evidence-based research, and utilizes innovative services like laser therapy to assist people in quitting smoking," HE noted.

HE the Minister of Public Health highlighted the significance of HMC Tobacco Control Center being designated as a WHO Collaborating Center, underscoring Qatar's dedication to global tobacco control efforts.

"School-based surveys were conducted in 2004, 2007, 2013, and 2018, along with adult surveys in 2007, 2013, and 2023. Moreover, this year, we established a Tobacco Products Quality Control Laboratory to ensure tobacco products meet specified standards and safety requirements," HE the Minister of Public Health pointed out.

Dr. Hanan Mohammed Al Kuwari, Minister of Public Health, also discussed tobacco control policies implemented during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™. Qatar played a pivotal role in ensuring the tournament was entirely tobacco-free. This included raising awareness about tobacco hazards, enforcing tobacco-free policies through trained volunteers and security personnel, and overseeing policy implementation while providing a report for future events. These efforts received recognition and praise from the World Health Organization and the global health community.

It is important to note that the Tobacco-Free Finance Pledge 5-Year Anniversary Event at the UN highlighted financial institutions that have adopted tobacco-free financing policies and encouraged others to follow suit. It also encouraged the finance sector to actively engage in addressing global priorities as outlined in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

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