The beginning was in January 1979, when the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia submitted in the 6th Health Ministers’ Council Conference — a working paper on combating smoking in the GCC states. The paper involved many programs: to prohibit smoking in the health and educational establishments, to increase health education about the health hazards of smoking and prevent advertisements on tobacco in the media. All the GCC states unanimously agreed on this paper. Consequently, there was a need to establish a technical committee in the executive board of the health ministers’ council for the GCC states to plan and follow up implementing resolutions and recommendations issued by the Council in the field of smoking (tobacco) control.
Since the issuance of the first resolution of the HMC/GCC in its 6th conference in 1979, the member states have been taking comprehensive and effective efforts to control this epidemic. With the rise of the smoking rates and the increased consumption of all tobacco products all over the world especially in the developing world, efforts need to be doubled and the Council States have to solidify their efforts to control this epidemic in the light of the fierce attack and the deadly efforts undertaken by the tobacco industry.
This represents a large challenge to tobacco control programs. The Executive Board still supports the member states, and their excellencies the Ministers of Health are keeping the march towards facing this epidemic, strengthening the tobacco control procedures and actions in all aspects and all fields.
To this date, more than 40 resolution have been issued. They involved procedures and actions to control tobacco all over the past years. Theses can be summarized in the following :
1- Emphasis on banning advertisement for cigarettes and other forms of tobacco in all media means as local newspapers, magazines, TV and broadcasting.
2- Banning competitions sponsored by tobacco companies, as well as distribution of gifts with cigarette packs. Emphasis is also on banning advertisement on tobacco and its products in sporting playgrounds whether directly or indirectly.
3- Writing various warning sentences about the hazards of smoking on tobacco products and cigarettes , increasing the font and continuously updating it.
4- Reduction of nicotine to 0.6 mg and tar to 10 mg in the cigarette as of 4/5/1996 ( the max. limit of nicotine was 1.0 mg and tar 15 mg in each cigarette ). Analysis for nicotine and tar in other tobacco products other than cigarettes.. as well as radiation level in the raw tobacco leaves and aminophylline. Determination of CO % in imported cigarettes.
5- Clear statement of nicotine and tar percentage on each cigarette pack.
6- Stating date of production on each cigarette pack.
7- Number of cigarettes in each pack should be defined, the maximum number of 20 cigarettes should not be exceeded, neither less than this number.
8- Raising the custom tariffs on cigarettes and tobacco to 100% as of 1/7/1997 to be gradually increased to reach 150% in 2001. Some of the member states such as Qatar and Bahrain applied this increase.
9- Preparation of educational posters and brochures for awareness about smoking hazards and how to minimize it especially in the international days such as the World No Tobacco Day. All the Council States have undertaken great efforts in this regard. Emphasis was made on banning smoking among teachers and students , youth , physicians and workers in the health facilities and governmental workplaces.
10- Introduction of health education about smoking hazards in the educational curricula in coordination with ministries of education in the member Council States , and calling upon the Arab Education Bureau to give prominence to the role of the educational curricula in promotion of tobacco control among the youngsters and the youth.
11- Non-issuance of permits for establishment of tobacco manufacturing factories in its different forms in the member states.
12- It was recommended for the Ministers of Media to ban the appearance of actors on TV while smoking, TV series containing smoking scenes are minimized.
13- Assigning special places for smokers in restaurants, cafeterias, public places and transportation means.
14- Assigning places for smokers on national airlines and banning smoking on local airlines and short flights among the member states as well as banning sale of cigarettes and tobacco forms on board the flights between the member states.
15- Expansion of establishment of anti-smoking clinics. These clinics became widespread in the member states
16- Establishment of civil societies for tobacco control with the objective of intensifying health education efforts to raise the awareness level among the citizens about the smoking hazards. There are currently at least a charitable anti-smoking society at minimum , to work towards development of tobacco control programs.
17- Conduction of field studies and research about hazards of smoking at the national level in each of the member states.
18- Establishment of a number of laboratories in the Council states for cigarette analysis and determination of nicotine and tar percentage in it and in all other tobacco forms. Random samples to be taken and these products are not cleared by the customs unless analyzed and made sure that the nicotine and tar content does not exceed the maximum allowable limits.
19- A number of the member states issued tobacco control laws that regulate implementation of control procedures.
20- A strategy for tobacco control has been set , which was endorsed by the Ministers of Health in the 50th conference held in Kuwait ( Jan. , 2001 ) A Gulf Plan for Tobacco Control and the strategy of its implementation was prepared.
21- Participation in the consultative meeting held by EMRO at Amman, Jordan ( 5-7/2/2001) about the use of prosecution and public investigations being one of the means of public health maintenance in tobacco control.
22- Participation of the Executive Board in the preparatory meetings held in the Secretariat General of the Cooperation Council for the Arab Gulf Countries to study the economic impact consequent on banning advertisement on tobacco and its products in the media of the Council States previously requested by the Ministers of The Media.
23- Addressing the Secretariat General for the Cooperation Council to stop the Activities of META, it was actually stopped.
24- The Executive Board undertakes study of the possible alternatives to raise the custom tariffs and the tobacco prices in case the prices are raised in the member states, to be presented to their excellencies the Ministers of Health.
25- The fourth stage of “Salamatak “ program , meaning “Your Health” is being displayed, it contains some awareness materials about smoking hazards, and is televised in TVs and broadcasting stations of the member states. The fifth stage is underway.
26- Coordination is currently being made with the Secretariat General for the Cooperation Council to hold a workshop for authorities concerned with tobacco control to study the negative impacts, and exploring setting new plans for tobacco control.
27- “ Sehhat Al-Khaleej” magazine , meaning the health of the Gulf, issued by the Executive Board, conducts from time to time some investigations about smoking and its hazards, in addition to publishing a series of articles about tobacco control in the member states.
28- Currently, a 5% of the tobacco control private tax is deducted. Qatar agreed on assigning 2% of the tax for tobacco control. The Sultanate of Oman endorsed a specific amount of money in 2001 budget for tobacco control program. Communications in Saudi Arabia is currently made in this respect.
29- The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been awarded the WHO Director General Award for Tobacco Control for the Year 2001.
30- The Gulf Specifications for mollassed tobacco have been approved after endorsement by the Standardization and Specifications Organization for the Cooperation Council States, with its commitment of implementation.
31- Establishment of a task force or a joint committee with the Secretariat General for the Cooperation Council in this respect to ensure giving effect to the recommendations of the Executive Board and to continue fruitful communication.
32- Participation of the Executive Board in the Second International Conference on Tobacco Control, organized by the Kuwaiti Society for Tobacco Control and Cancer throughout the period 21-23 October, 2002 under the theme: Together Against Smoking.
33- The Executive Board issued a book entitled: Resolutions on Tobacco Control Issued by the Health Ministers’ Council for Cooperation Council States.
34- The Executive Board established a Gulf committee fot tobacco control, it is one of the very active committees and it held so far 20 meeting , the last of which was early in 2010, in the United Arab Emirates.
35- Since 1981, thirteen Gulf symposia for tobacco control were held, the last was held in the kingdom of Bahrain in January, 2010.
36- The Council states participated in the Regional Survey conducted by WHO/EMRO to assess the current situation of tobacco control in the region to be utilized in exerting more efforts in control of the smoking epidemic.
37- The Executive Board participated in the Gulf meeting held the WHO/ Emro in Cairo, to discuss the future of the Framework Convention for Tobacco Control between 16-18 December, 2003 with participation of representatives from the Cooperation Council States for orientation about the mechanisms of signature and ratification of the convention, and study of the future actions to be taken.
38- Ministerial resolution for establishment of the national tobacco control program in Yemen. There are very serious efforts to issue the Tobacco Control Law, where the law is presented currently to the Chamber of Parliament for endorsement.
39- The WHO report on world tobacco epidemic, 2009 has been circulated to the member states so as to explore how to give effect to the tobacco control policies, and take appropriate actions for control of passive smoking and making public place tobacco free with support by appropriate resolutions. WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic, 2009 Implementing smoke-free environments.
Other Sustained Steps and Efforts
1- Continue request to the Secretariat General for the Cooperation Council to raise the custom tariffs on tobacco and its products to 150%.
2- Request to to the Ministerial Council to raise resolution # 20 to Health Ministers’ Council in its 58th conference to the summit.
3- Request the Secretariat General for the Cooperation Council to the Financial and Economic Cooperation Committee (stressing the importance of raising the tarrif customs collected for shisha equipment ( with individual use for tobacco products as molassed tobacco ) which amounts to only 5% in such a way that it equals that used for tobacco products equipment amounting to 100% due to similarity of cause and effect.
4- Request from the General Secretary of the Cooperation Council to present the subject of raising the custom tariffs to the Financial and Economic Cooperation Committee on shisha equipment and all its requirements and accessories(for single use for smoking tobacco products including molassed tobacco and jerak), to 100% just like the custom tariffs applied on tobacco products used in these equipment ( due to concord of risk and reason )..
5- Addressing the concerned authorities in the member states to raise the fees for the commercial licenses granted to the cafees and restaurants which provide shisha to their attendants with its various forms, e.g. ajami, molasse and others, and committing them to put the health warnings on the tobacco packages used for shisha.
6- Request from the Secretary General of the Cooperation Council to address the ministers of municipalities in the member states to take necessary actions to control shisha at cafees, clubs and other gatherings; in coordination with concerned authorities.
7- Addressing the GCC Standardization Organization to determine the amount of tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide in the emitted from the shisha smoke.
8- Setting appropriate controls concerning banning advertisement and glamorization for shisha as well as exerting more effective health education efforts to warn against the hazards of its smoking and correct the wrong beliefs and misconceptions among the public that smoking shisha is less risky than cigarette smoking.
9- Conduction of periodic epidemiologic studies about the prevalence of shisha smoking in the Gulf community to assess the magnitude of the problem and hence take necessary actions for its control based on scientific grounds.
10-Urging the member states to abandon the establishment of local industries for shisha equipment and its requirements.
Since 1981, (13) Gulf symposia were held in the GCC States, the most recent were as follows:
Seventh (Workplaces free of Tobacco)
Eighth(Role of the Media in Tobacco Control)
Ninth(Role of the Family in Tobacco Control)
Tenth(Role of Educationalists in Tobacco Control)
Arab Gulf Education Bureau
Eleventh(Role of the Cooperation Council States in the Support of the FCTC)
4-6 Dec. ,2004
Twelfth(Role of the Governmental and non- governmental establishments in support of the FCTC)
Thirteenth( FCTC – Responsibilities and Commitments)
WHO Health Award for Work on
Awarded to the Health Ministers’ Council
The Gulf Cooperation Council States
The World Health Organization awarded the Executive Board of the Health Ministers’ Council for the Cooperation Council States the award for Tobacco Control for the year 2004 in appraisal of the continuous efforts exerted by the Executive Board in the Gulf region in the field of tobacco control.
The World Health
Mediterranean Regional Office
Award for the Director General of the Executive Board,
Dr. Tawfik A. M. Khoja
for his distinguished efforts in the field of tobacco control in the GCC States, for 2004.
Awarding the World No Tobacco Day Award ,2009 to Prof. Dr. Tawfik Khoja
The WHO Director General agreed to award Prof. Tawfik Khoja the World No Tobacco Day Award for the year 2009. This is for his great and out standing contributions in tobacco control in the GCC countries. His selection came among an elite group of officials who have been awarded this prize where he is considered one of the great resources in this field.
The 11th Gulf Symposium for Tobacco Control
(Kuwait , 23-24 Shawwal , 1425H/ 6-7 December, 2004)
It focused on discussing proposals to support the FCTC and coordination of the situation of the Gulf in preparation for the Conference of Parties which is held periodically .
The symposium resulted in very important recommendations as follows :
1- Urging the countries which signed the convention to ratify it, and those which did not sign to take actions towards accession, using the proper mechanisms as indicated in the convention.
2- Exerting appropriate efforts on the part of the MOH officials in the member states to explain the dimensions of the convention to their counterpart officials in other ministries and clear any ambiguities, through holding workshops/ training to get them oriented with the FCTC and its uses in the field of tobacco control, and the necessity to ratify or accede the convention.
3- Coordination with the WHO/EMRO concerning the required mechanisms for ratification / accession / approval on the convention.
4- Coordination with the Ministry of media in the member states for orientation with the FCTC and shedding light on the hazards of smoking.
5- Cooperation with the working technical committees in the Executive Board, such as Health Education, Diabetes Control, cardiovascular, and Cancer control committees to unify and coordinate efforts in the field of tobacco control.
6- The necessity to condense scientific meetings organized in the field of tobacco control.
7- Urging the countries to fix the members of the Gulf Tobacco Control Committee, especially in the meetings concerned with the FCTC.
8- The possibility of organizing a Gulf No Smoking Day, Arafat Day is proposed.
9- The Executive Board shall address the Secretariat General for the Cooperation Council to reaffirm the importance of prompt ratification of the convention on the part of the member states, and finalizing the necessary actions for this process.
10-Focus on post ratification stage and taking necessary actions to give effect to the articles of the convention in coordination with the other governmental / non-governmental organizations on the part of the MOH officials in each of the member states.
The 12th Gulf Symposium for Tobacco Control
( Riyadh, KSA, 7-8 Dhul-Qada, 1427H/ 28-29 November, 2006)
Under the theme :
Role of Governmental and non-governmental Establishments in support of the FCTC.
Delegations from all the GCC countries, international experts from WHO l HQ /EMRO as well as regional and, Gulf and local experts participated in the symposium.
1- Expanding knowledge and awareness about the FCTC among all community individuals at various age groups, formal governmental and national agencies through a number of educational activities, including workshops, seminars, essays and publications.
2- Giving effect to the role of the ministries of media, finance, commerce, municipalities, and education in adoption and support the FCTC.
3- Seeking setting an administrative and technical concerned with the convention, e.g. an agency or national committee to follow up the stage of post ratification of the convention in the Cooperation Council States.
4- Urging the governmental and non-governmental establishments to give effect to the Ministerial resolutions issued by the HMC in the field of tobacco control.
5- Work towards finding training programs for the working governmental and non-governmental health caders in the field of the FCTC and in tobacco control in the Cooperation Council States.
6- Coordination of efforts of the scientific and national societies working in the field of tobacco control, in such a way to assist conduction of joint studies and exchange of views, information and successful experiences .
7- Finding a judicial and legal culture concerned with issues of tobacco control, which encourages implementations of imposed rules related to banning smoking in governmental establishments and public places, as well as encouraging suing tobacco companies, and finding highly qualified judicial and legal caders in this field.
8- Implementation of the Strategic Gulf Plan for Tobacco Control endorsed lately by the Executive Body of the Health Ministers’ Council for Cooperation Council States.
9- Holding the 13th Gulf Symposium for Tobacco Control, two years from now.
The 13th Gulf Symposium for Tobacco Control
(Bahrain ,20-21 January ,2010)
Under the theme : FCTC ..Commitments and challenges
A number of recommendations were issued as follows:
● Communication with various legislative and executive agencies in the member states on the part of the Executive Board through providing them with successful experiences of other countries in the field of legislations made for tobacco control.
● Work towards issuance of Gulf by-laws that contain all aspects of tobacco control .
● Provision of motivators to to those establishments which implement national tobacco control and in particular the tobacco free environments.
● Giving effect and commitment to article 5-3 of the convention and its guidelines .
● Strengthening control on the media.
● Foundation of an electronic site with effective presence in various sites and electronic clubs.
● Updating methods of health education with focus on culture of transmission of pictures instead of thr traditional methods.
● Sharing and exchange of views about the FCTC with Media officials.
● Intensifying multimedia and TV programs about hazards of smoking in all its forms.
III- Training and Qualification
● A group of health officials should be granted fellowships to study abroad for higher degrees specialized in tobacco control.
● Integration of health education and awareness about tobacco control in the educational curricula in all scholastic years especially early years.
V- Civil Societies
● Support of the civil society establishments working in the field of tobacco control, and its involvement in various activities.
● Work with concerned authorities to provide cessation methods at reasonable cost.
VI- Research and studies
● Execution of a Gulf research using a unified methodology at the level of the Council States to elucidate the epidemiology of the use at all tobacco forms.
● Calling upon the health officials to adapt their research topics to include tobacco control aspects, and in particular the methods undertaken by the tobacco companies to undermine and decrease the effectiveness of the national laws and systems.
● Conduction of an urgent study about the commitments of the GCC countries towards the FCTC, World Trade Agreements as related to raising the custom tariffs in the Council States.
Implementation of recommendations
and resolutions of tobacco control as to 1428H/2007G
I. General policies for Tobacco control
Presence of National Committee for Tobacco control
Presence of a national coordinating mechanism
Presence of resolution that bans smoking in the health and educational establishments
Implementation of resolution that bans smoking in health and educational establishments
Presence of resolution that bans smoking in other governmental establishments.
Implementation of resolution that bans smoking in other governmental establishments.
Presence of resolutions for penalties on violators
Banning smoking in public places (airports, commercial complexes, restaurants, hotels)
Implementation of resolution that bans smoking in public places
Assigning specific places for smokers (in airports)
Conduction of studies and research about epidemiology of tobacco in the last 5 years
Ratification / acceding the WHO FCTC
Presence of local laboratories for testing tobacco and its products
Presence of special budgets for tobacco control programmes.
II Advertising tobacco, its glamorization and its sponsorship
Banning advertising cigarettes and tobacco in local news papers and magazines.
Banning advertising cigarettes and tobacco in broadcasting and television
Banning placing the ads on smoking in the sports or public places e.g. football playgrounds.
Banning sponsorship of competitions organized by tobacco companies.
Banning distribution of gifts with cigarette packets
Dissclosure to the concerned governmental authorities about expenditure made by the tobacco industries on the advertisement and glamorization activities for tobacco.
Use of technology and others to facilitate combating cross borders advertisements
III- Decreasing demand on tobacco.
Banning cigarette sales for those under 18 years of age.
Penalties on shops that are caught selling cigarettes for those under 18 years of age.
Full commitment about putting agreed on warning sentences on cigarette packs
Commitment about the presence of pictured warnings that cover 30-50% of the area of the pack
Commitment about the presence of other warnings:
- % of nicotine and tar on each pack.
- Carbon Monoxide.
- Size of the warning sentence.
- Maximum of 20 cigarettes in each packet.
- Defining the date of production on each packet.
Raising the custom tariff on cigarettes and other products (Al Jarak and molasses) to 150%
Imposing other fees on tobacco
Imposing registration / licensing fees on retail shops for tobacco products.
Imposing registration fees on wholesale shops for tobacco products.
Imposing licensing fees on shisha café’s and other places that serve it.
Banning cigarette sales on board of local flights.
Exempting tobacco products sales in the duty free markets in the airport and borders exists from the tax exemption.
Banning phrases like (little tar) or (light) or (extremely light ) or (nice)
Not permitted for sale except in (name of the country) or it should carry a label that specifies the final destination.
Monitoring and collection of data about tobacco trade across borders.
All sellers of tobacco products should - as a condition – put a clear sign in a prominent place inside the sale station that indicates banning of tobacco sales for minors (underage) In case of doubt, the buyer should be requested to present appropriate evidence that he/she is above the legal age.
Banning tobacco products sales
Banning sales of sweets, light meals toys, and others manufactured in the form of products that seduce the minors (underage)
IV. Health Education and Smoking Cassation
Education campaigns for the public
Education campaigns for the school students
Introduction of tobacco and its hazards in the educational curricula for the school students.
Preparing advertisements against tobacco in various media (TV Broadcasting and Press).
Presence of smoking cassation clinics
Provision of treatment / nicotine replacement therapy through the Ministry of Health
Coordination of educational courses for health workers
Implementation of tobacco control law
Conduction of a field study about hazards of tobacco and its products
Stopping META activities
Signing the WHO framework convention for tobacco control
Ratification of the WHO framework convention for tobacco control
- Not applicable = NA
- Not achieved = Zero
- Partially achieved = 1
- Fully achieved = 2
The Gulf Week for Smoking Cassation
● It was agreed on assigning the last week of Shaban month of every years to be the Gulf week for smoking cessation. This is to invest the readiness of people of the fasting month of Ramadan to do good deeds, this helping them to stop smoking.
● EMRO has been informed of this decision and the countries have been registered to take necessary actions to celebrate this occasion.
● This is of course – in addition to celebrating the World NO Tobacco Day (31 May ) every year.
20th Meeting Of The Gulf Tobacco Control Committee
(Riyadh, 3 Dhul Qada, 1431 / 11 October 2010)
The Gulf Tobacco Control Committee held its 20th meeting, and issued a lot of recommendations including the following recommendation related to « Women and Tobacco».
In view of what has been noted of the increased prevalence rates of smoking among women and girls in some of the Cooperation Council States and in EMR generally, the committee recommends that awareness efforts should be intensified to combat smoking in women, especially for shisha. Also it recommends communications with ministries of information and media to assist in tobacco control and orientation of the public with its hazards.
Regional Forum for Development of Tobacco Control Regulations
(Riyadh , 4-6 Dhul-Qada,1431H / 12-14 October,2010)
The meeting resulted in the Tobacco Control Law in the Cooperation Council States ( Draft ) In addition to some important recommendations.
THE 70th Health Ministers’ Council Conference was held in Doha, Qatar, 30/3/1432 H – 3/2/2011 which discussed the subject and issued resolution # (7) involving the following:
1. Endorsement of the draft Tobacco Control Law for Cooperation Council States reached to at the Regional meeting for development of Gulf tobacco control laws, as guide. Directions are made to take necessary action to make necessary Legal amendments in accordance with the law as detailed in the recommendations of the meetings and matching the local conditions in the Cooperation Council States.
2. Endorsement of the Guiding controls for promotion, glamorization and sponsorship of tobacco in the Cooperation Council States, drafted in Kuwait in the period 5-7 Dec. 2009.
The Council States are called upon to start their specific actions each according to available implementation mechanisms of these control guidelines for regulation and marketing of tobacco products.
3. Total banning of e-cigarette in the Cooperation Council States in accordance with the directions of WHO and the findings of the recent studies about this product.
4. Urging the ministries of health in the Council States to follow up on the issue and inform World Trade Organization with the Gulf specific technical by-laws related to health warnings as per the recommendations made by the Secretary General of the Gulf Standardization Organization as in his letter referred to in the introduction of the resolution & informing the Executive Board of actions taken in this respect.
5. Adoption of (Riyadh Declaration on Women and Tobacco) issued by the Epidemiology and Public Health Chair, King Saud (College of Medicine) in Riyadh in the (Women and Tobacco) symposium as well as all related recommendations as a guiding document of the Council’s documents.
6. The Council urges the member states which did not ban import or use of smokeless tobacco to do so, just like the other member countries which implemented this action (KSA – Bahrain – Oman – Qatar). This is in view of the harmful efforts of smokeless tobacco on health.
7. In view of the remarkable increase in prevalence rate of smoking in women and girls in some of the Cooperation Council States and in EMR in general, the member states have to intensify education efforts to control the phenomenon of tobacco use among women and in particular shisha (hubble – bubble), and communicate with ministries of information to assist in orientation about tobacco and its harms.
8. Urging the member states to utilize the guiding principles for implementation of FCTC articles issued periodically by the WHO, and its inclusion in their national legislations as much as possible.
9. The member states shall provide the Executive Board with copies of the reports sent to the Secretariat of the FCTC about tobacco control and the implementation of the articles, as of January 2011.
* * * * *
| Privacy Statement
All Rights Reserved – Executive Board of The Health Minister's Council for G.C.C States © 2014
Powered by ShabakahNet