Jordan – World Health Organization says Jordanian families spend more on smoking than food
Location: Amman – Jordan
Source: A24 in Amman
Restrictions: A24 subscribers
According to a survey conducted by the World Health Organization, Jordan ranks first in the world in smoking; 82 percent of smokers, aged 18 to 69 smoke cigarettes and hookah, and 15% smoke electronic cigarettes.
Studies revealed that Jordanian families spend an average of 73.6 Jordanian Dinars per month on smoking, which is more than what they spend on food, noting that smoking revenues in Jordan amount to 899 million dinars. However, the government bears more than 1.7 billion in costs of long-term risks of smoking and related illnesses.
Economists said that the studies conducted by the World Health Organization reveal the extent of psychological pressure Jordanian citizens are under due to poor living and economic conditions, that force them to resort to smoking despite the government raising prices in an effort to eliminate this dangerous scourge.
Citizens, who are smokers, explained that smoking is much more important to them than food and drink, as they inquire about the price of a pack of cigarettes before the price of bread or food. Traders and sellers confirm that the percentage of tobacco sales is higher than sales of foodstuffs.
The Ministry of Health has established 27 smoking cessation clinics, in an effort to combat the scourge of smoking, stop smoking in different regions of Jordan, in addition to procure medicines
and tools worth more than one million dinars that help people quit smoking.
– Soundbite (Khaled Sheikh Yassin – Tobacco seller):
“The percentage of smokers here in Jordan is very high, and the percentage of tobacco sales in my store is higher than the sales of anything else. Citizens nowadays prioritize smoking and they spend more on smoking than coffee.”
– Soundbite (Mohamed Arar – Citizen who is a smoker):
“The first thing I check is my pocket to make sure I have cigarettes, I don’t care if we don’t have bread or other foodstuffs. I notice the lack of cigarettes before anything else in the house.”
– Soundbite (Mohamed Al-Bashir – Economist):
“Jordanians spend more on smoking than food, which confirms that raising prices will exacerbate citizens burdens, and that will be reflected in the purchasing power of other commodities. This will have an important impact on our economy, because it will affect supply and demand, as there will be a decrease in citizens demand for consumables in general.”
– Soundbite (Dr. Ghaith Owais – Head of Smoking Harm Prevention Department at the Ministry of Health)
“Jordan has one of the highest rates of smokers in the world, as the number of smokers of regular cigarettes reached 66 percent of men and 17.5 percent of women. The percentage of e-cigarette smokers is lower, reaching 16 percent of men and about 2.7 percent of women. This means the percentage of smokers in Jordan is about 80-81 percent, which is very high in comparison neighboring countries. We have 27 smoking cessation clinics to support every person in Jordan trying to quit smoking. These clinics provide psychological and moral support, in addition to free treatments.”