MOH News
Important Tips for Students to Avoid Smoking
03 September 2013
The smoking diseases specialist and head of the Studies and Systems Department at MOH's anti-Smoking Program, Dr. Jamal Abdullah Basehi, said that the prevalence of smoking among school students is an alarm bell for the students' parents and school alike, as the student may be suffering behavioral deviations.
Within the same vein, Dr. Basehi added that the start of tobacco use means that the student has overstepped many of the social and psychological barriers that were preventing him from smoking, especially in our eastern societies where the tobacco use among teenagers and youths, whether males or females, is seen as deviation from the families and social norms.
Dr. Basehi stressed that the social specialists in schools should examine the reasons beyond exceeding such barriers, and work on solving them, as the student may be affected by a bad companion, or fells under sufferance of family problems or psychological and social pressures.
“The reasons for the prevalence of smoking among school students are many and varied, and each smoker has his own reasons. One of the most important reasons beyond the tobacco use among students is the curiosity of experience, imitation of a friend, the belief that smoking is a sign of puberty and manhood, or when the smoker gets affected by the ads launched by the tobacco companies, directly or indirectly, such as imitation of the smoking actors in the cinematic movies and drama,” Dr. Basehi highlighted.
“The student also gets affected by his parents if one of them or both use tobacco,” Dr. Basehi noted.
As part of the program (My health...My school) launched by the Ministry of Health conceding with the start of the new academic year; The MOH's Media Information and Health Awareness Center hosted Dr. Jamal Abdullah Basehi, the smoking diseases specialist and head of the Studies and Systems Department at MOH's anti-Smoking Program, through its toll free number: 8002494444 and the MOH's account on Twitter: @saudimoh; in order to answer the caller's enquires and questions with regard to impact of tobacco use on teenagers and youths.
As for the dangers of smoking among school students, Dr. Basehi highlighted that the student gets influenced physically and mentally by thousands of toxic and carcinogens substances contained in tobacco; given that such substances are more harmful on the students who are still in the stage of physical and mental growth. However, the most important danger is the infection of respiratory disorders, which usually cause other diseases and absence in many school days. The tobacco use has an effect also on the centers of the brain which are responsible for the brainpower of the student, such as concentration learning and memory, causing weakness in these capabilities. This fact is completely contrary to the beliefs spread widely among students who think that smoking helps student to concentrate, especially during exams. It's also known that the addiction of tobacco is severe among school students, making the centers of the brain require addiction of other substances such as drugs, Allah forbid, so we can say that smoking is scientifically considered the first gate for youth and teenagers to addict drugs.
With regard to the ways and means through which the spread of the smoking phenomenon can be actually reduced especially in schools, Dr. Basehi confirmed, “The school is like a small community. However, it reflects the whole community; therefore, the complete elimination or reduction of the phenomenon of smoking among school students lies under responsibility of several authorities, such as the family and school as well as the other bodies concerned with the spread of the scourge of smoking in the society as a whole. Also, the family has to play a role in providing the social and psychological atmosphere that protects students from the scourge of smoking.”
Dr. Basehi added that the school, on its part, has to warn students of the dangers of smoking and provide social specialists to help students stay away from such a bad habit. Also, school heath services must provide full treatment for the students addicting to smoking through launching an integrated treatment program that helps students to get rid of addiction. In addition, school heath services should play a role in warning students of the dangers of smoking, so that the student finds solid grounds to stay away from this scourge, whatever the temptations. The showing of a video clip for patients suffering from lung and throat cancer may have a significant impact in the minds of students and their psychologies.
As for importance of opening school-based quit smoking units, Dr. Basehi responded, “The opening of quit smoking services in schools is an excellent idea to help students go easily to these centers to ask for assistance and completely get rid of the scourge of smoking, especially that the student is a perfect person who might have fallen prey to some factors that made him addict smoking; therefore, the providers of this service have to deal with the smoking student in a civilized manner, because he is not a patient; he is only someone who has a social problem and needs help.”
Dr. Basehi also stressed that the MOH's anti-Smoking Program pays great attention to the school community, as the dangers of smoking are more harmful among students than any other group in the society. Within the same vein, the MOH's anti-Smoking Program, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, organizes awareness-raising activities to warn students of the dangers of the tobacco use whatever its types or denominations. The program also implements studies to monitor students' use of tobacco and the reasons for such prevalence.
In addition, the program plays a role with the National Committee for Tobacco Control, which in turn, aims at enacting legislations and regulations to protect students from tobacco products. These legislations include prevention of the sale of tobacco products in stores near schools, prohibition of tobacco use in schools, and prevention of the sale of tobacco products to those under the age of 18 years old. There are also many activities and legislations to be issued in the future, Allah Willing, that will help reduce the spread of the scourge of smoking in schools completely.
On the other hand, as part of the ongoing awareness-raising activities and events launched by the Ministry of Health as well as the Program (My health...My school), the Media Information and Health Awareness Center will host Mrs. Fadilah Abdulrahman al-Nasyan, the manageress of the Model Education Schools, today (Wednesday) from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. to talk about the period of adolescence which is considered one of the most difficult periods throughout the life of persons in general and students in particular. Afterwards, the Center will host the pharmacist, Munira al-Towaiher, to talk about the school bag from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.


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