Thursday, 13 September 2007
By Adel Al-Malki
The Anti-Smoking Charitable Association has mounted a drive to discourage supermarkets from selling tobacco products, especially during Ramadan. "We tell them that now is the best time to stop," said Khaled Al-Thagafi, a member of the association.
Posters and cassette tapes with messages to raise awareness on the health hazards of smoking are also being distributed.
Some 1000 shopping centers in Jeddah have reportedly stopped selling cigarettes as a result of the campaign.
Ali Koti, a cigarette vendor in Hani supermarket, said that even without the campaign, their employer had ordered employees not to sell cigarettes as a step in welcoming the holy month.
Koti added that selling cigarettes during Ramadan doubles the gravity of the vice.
He, however, tells customers looking for cigarettes to come back after the season.
"It's important to strike a balance between not hurting the feelings of customers and those engaged in the tobacco trade and the religious authorities," he said.
Akben Ameen, another cigarette vendor who sells about SR650 worth of cigarettes in a day, said that for this season "I am only after rewards."