x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Banning smoking indoors 'would help me quit'

A Lebanese business consultant believes it would be easier to quit smoking if she had to go outdoors to light up.

Fatima Ghaddar recently tried to quit smoking because of the Abu Dhabi Quit and Win campaign.
Fatima Ghaddar recently tried to quit smoking because of the Abu Dhabi Quit and Win campaign.

ABU DHABI //She has been smoking for more than 10 years but Fatima Ghaddar still wishes her favourite Abu Dhabi haunts would ban it.

The Lebanese business consultant is adamant it would be easier not to smoke if she had go outdoors.

Ms Ghaddar, 29, tried to quit three weeks ago when she heard about the Quit and Win competition launched by Health Authority-Abu Dhabi, in which those who give the habit away become eligible for prizes.

"I've never really tried to quit before," she said. "But recently I've been smoking at least a pack a day and, if only for my health, I wanted to quit."

Quitting had a serious impact on Ms Ghaddar's social life, however, and she often rethinks her decision.

"There is really nothing stopping me from smoking right now except my own personal concerns about my health, which I can easily ignore," she said. "Ever since I quit, going to the places I usually go to with my friends has become much more difficult."

Smoking indoors is still allowed in all of her favourite cafes, restaurants, bars and clubs. If it were banned indoors, Ms Ghaddar said, staying away from cigarettes would be easier.

"I really want to quit once and for all but once this competition is over, why shouldn't I go back to smoking, since it's been so hard to quit and since everywhere I go people are smoking anyway?" she asked.

Ms Ghaddar's colleague, Maed Krunz, a management consultant from Jordan, also quit smoking this month as part of the Quit and Win competition.

But Mr Krunz, 27, does not agree that a ban on smoking in public places is enough to get smokers to quit. He said he believed using scare tactics about health was more effective.

"Most malls are non-smoking areas now and it doesn't stop me. I just head outside for a quick cigarette when I need it," Mr Krunz said.

"But when I travel to Europe, for example, and buy a cigarette pack that has pictures of rotted lungs on it or scary messages about deformed babies if smoking when pregnant, I immediately lose my appetite for a cigarette."

Most people know smoking is unhealthy, said Mr Krunz, but they could benefit from a reminder.

"Constantly raising awareness and having smokers see these type of messages everywhere they turn is what will make us stop smoking," he said.

hkhalaf@thenational.ae