Winners of anti-smoking media campaign honoured

27-06-2013 01:34 PM

Ammon News - By Dana Al Emam/ Jordan Times

AMMAN — Journalists and media outlets should enhance their role in spreading awareness of the dangers of smoking, HH Princess Dina Mired, director general of the King Hussein Cancer Foundation (KHCF), said on Wednesday.

Speaking at a ceremony to honour winners of the foundation’s anti-smoking media campaign that was launched in April, Princess Dina praised the active participation of journalists in the competition.

“We are happy about the positive participation of journalists in our campaign against smoking,” she said at the award ceremony, where HRH Princess Ghida Talal, chairperson of the KHCF board of trustees, awarded certificates to the winners.

Firas Hawari, director of the cancer control office at the King Hussein Cancer Centre (KHCC), said the number of smokers in Jordan nearly tripled over the last five years.

“Smoking has become a dangerous addiction for many, who, therefore, need medical help,” he said at the event. The nine winners said they were playing their part in spreading public awareness on the dangers of smoking.

Batoul Arnaout, winner of the most tweets and re-tweets on the dangers of smoking, said she had worked to combat smoking due to the damage it inflicts on the human body.

“Everybody has the right to live a healthy life, and studies an increasing number of deaths among smokers,” she told The Jordan Times at the ceremony.

Noting that many fellow tweeps have interacted with her on the social media website, Arnaout said she worked regularly to educate as many people as possible on the dangers of smoking.

“I started tweeting on a daily basis for this competition a month-and-a-half ago,” she noted.

Arnaout, who also enjoys writing for this cause, said she “will always fight to prevent children from suffering the effects of smoking”.

The winner of the best news story in a local newspaper, magazine or website, Manal Qablawi, took on a key angle.

“The main focus of my story was the indirect involvement of children in smoking,” the Al Rai journalist told The Jordan Times.

Parents, Qablawi believes, should be role models for their children by encouraging a smoking-free environment.

“When children help their parents in preparing argileh, when they bring their parents an ashtray or when they buy cigarettes for them, they see smoking as a normal part of their life,” she noted.

Other winners included Al Ghad journalist Muna Abu Soboh for best investigative report in a local newspaper, magazine or website; Jamil Samki of the Jordan Medical Pages Magazine for best feature story in a newspaper, magazine or website; and Aline Yousef from Roya TV for best televised report.

Nazih Qosous of Ad Dustour daily and Wafa Matalqah of the Jordan News Agency, Petra, and the Jo24 news website jointly won the award for best column.

Asmaa Raja of Al Balad Radio, winner of the best radio report against smoking, stressed the need to reinforce the Public Health Law that prohibits smoking on public transport, which is used by many Jordanians.

“Drivers do not abide by the law because they are not fined for smoking while driving,” she said.

“It is usually hard for passengers to ask the driver to stop smoking, especially when the latter sees traffic police officers smoking,” Raja added.

According to “The reality of tobacco control in Jordan” report, recently issued by the KHCC, Jordanians begin smoking at an average age of 11-12 years, although the law prohibits smoking for children under 18.

The report also shows that 61 per cent of Jordanian families include at least one smoker, 94 per cent of whom smoke in their houses.

Families’ average spending on tobacco and cigarettes reaches JD424 million annually, according to the report.

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