Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Alwaleed Philanthropies, chaired by HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Al Saud, and the Ministry of Health announced today they have joined forces to launch a two-year anti-smoking campaign, targeting smokers and non-smokers across the country. The partnership has come to fruition to address the prevalence and dangers of tobacco use as one of the major public health concerns in Saudi Arabia. The campaign is part of Saudi Arabia’s ambitious strategic tobacco control plan of reducing smoking rates from 19.8% to 8% and enhancing the quality of preventive and therapeutic health care services as a part of its Vision 2030.
Commenting on the partnership, HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Al Saud, Chairman of Alwaleed Philanthropies said, “We are determined to enhance the quality of lives of citizens and residents across the Kingdom and are pleased to be partnering with the Ministry of Health to reduce the prevalence of smoking and raise awareness of its dangers in Saudi Arabia. This partnership is very much in line with our commitment to making sustainable philanthropic investments to empower people, near and far.”
The first phase of the awareness campaign will target non-smokers, while the second phase will focus on smokers. Moreover, in an effort to identify violators of government anti-smoking regulations, Alwaleed Philanthropies and the Ministry of Health will be directing people to a mobile application to report and monitor violations of anti-smoking regulations, including smoking in public places, selling tobacco to minors and advertising cigarette or shisha smoking on television channels.
According to the World Health Organisation, the tobacco use epidemic is one of the major global public health challenges, causing over 7 million deaths due to smoking-related diseases each year, 70,000 of which are Saudi citizens. A previous Saudi Health Information Survey revealed Saudi Arabia had a total of 5.5 million smokers, equating to 23% of the Kingdom’s population.
For four decades, Alwaleed Philanthropies has supported and spent more than 4 billion dollars on social welfare and initiated more than 1000 projects in over +189 countries, managed by 10 Saudi female members, reaching more than 1 billion beneficiaries around the world, regardless of gender, race, or religion. Alwaleed Philanthropies collaborates with a range of philanthropic, governmental, and educational organizations to combat poverty, empower women and youth, develop communities, provide disaster relief, and create cultural understanding through education. It seeks to build bridges for a more compassionate, tolerant, and accepting world.