Ministry of Health reports

Smoking kills person every 10 minutes in Iraq

BAGHDAD — The Iraqi Ministry of Health has released alarming statistics on smoking, noting that a smoker dies every 10 minutes in Iraq, highlighting a significant public health issue.

Wasim Kilan, Deputy Director of the Tobacco Control Program at the Ministry, told the official agency, “20% of Iraqis aged 18 and above smoke various types of tobacco, while 40-50% of Iraqis suffer from passive smoking due to indirect exposure to tobacco smoke,” noting that “the vast majority of smokers are men.”

He added, “Daily spending on smoking reaches six billion dinars. We have identified toxic and addictive substances in regular and electronic cigarettes as well as in hookahs,” pointing out that “electronic cigarettes contain 127 toxic substances, including lead.”

Kilan continued, “We expect a smoking-related death every 10 minutes in Iraq. Early smoking affects brain development, and today, there are electronic cigarettes shaped like sharpeners being used in schools.”

He noted that “there are difficulties in implementing the tobacco control law, but a new legislative proposal in parliament aims to protect against the harms of tobacco, with clear mechanisms for enforcement.”

The Sulaymaniyah district administration yesterday warned markets and cafes against selling cigarettes and hookahs to minors. Goran Qadir, head of the Joint Committees, emphasized penalties for non-compliance. Four billiard halls were shut down for allowing under-18s.

The World Health Organization has called for a global ban on electronic cigarettes, stating they should be regulated like traditional tobacco products. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus emphasized that e-cigarettes contain 127 toxic substances and pose significant risks, especially to young users. Despite existing bans in 34 countries, many nations lack adequate regulations.