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    » 06/30/2009, 00.00

    SAUDI ARABIA

    Saudi anti-smoking campaign offers fabulous wedding



    Hundreds of young men are interested in the initiative. Winner gets an all-expenses paid wedding, including party, dowry and furnished house. Women complain that the campaign objectifies women’s bodies. Others doubt it conforms to clerics’ rulings.

    Riyadh (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Quit smoking and you get a fabulous wedding, including an expensive party, a dowry and a fully furnished house. This is the offer of a Saudi charity, Purity, which wants to promote a smoke-free family life.

    With the catchy slogan, “Kicking the habit is on you, and marriage is on us,” Purity wants to entice young grooms to give up smoking. And indeed hundreds have expressed interest in what is the first anti-smoking drive of its kind in the kingdom.

    One interested man said that he wouldn’t have attempted to quit without the new incentive to win the all-expenses paid wedding.

    At a time of economic crisis incentives are very attractive, especially for weddings because in this Arab country the groom alone bears the cost of getting married and paying for the ceremony, the dowry and the home. In fact, more and more young men are having to delay their marriage until they have enough money.

    Many women are not that pleased though, upset that such a campaign objectifies women’s body.

    Maha al-Hujailan, and editorial writer for al-Watan, said that the concept is sexist. “The campaign stems from an idea directed at male smokers: ‘Give up having fun with a cigarette and take a woman instead’.”

    One commentator noted that Arabs have criticised the West for using women to promote merchandise. “Today, we're using ... the same two-in-one method”.

    Organisers have rejected such criticism, arguing that they are not providing women or wives to would-be grooms, but only paying for the wedding and the house.

    “In any case, the fact that people are discussing the campaign means we have fulfilled our goal of spreading the word about it,” said a marketing savvy spokesman for the charity.

    According to a recent survey, about one quarter of Saudi Arabia’s 27.6 million residents indulge in smoking. One school-age child in three lives in a family in which at least one member is a smoker.

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    See also

    03/09/2008 SAUDI ARABIA
    Ramadan in Makkah, an opportunity to quit smoking
    An anti-smoking campaign is underway during the holy month. A total ban has been imposed on the sale of cigarettes. Posters urge smokers to quit; physicians and psychiatrists help them to kick the habit.

    05/12/2008 PHILIPPINES
    Philippines: teenage smoking at alarming levels
    30% of girls between 13 and 15 years old smoke regularly. 90% of women say they are aware of the risks of smoking, but aren't quitting. At the university hospital of Manila, a strict anti-smoking rule is in effect: those who are caught smoking are suspended.

    08/10/2015 YEMEN - SAUDI ARABIA
    Yemen air strike hits wedding party: at least 15 dead and 25 wounded
    The raid took place in the late afternoon yesterday. Private home hit in Sanban, about 100 km south-east of Sana'a, under the control of the Houthi rebels. No comment from Riyadh, but Saudi-led coalition behind the attack. Humanitarian emergency: 80% of the population is at risk of hunger, at least 2,300 civilian casualties.

    22/11/2013 SAUDI ARABIA
    Young Saudi arrested over starting "free hugs" campaign
    Bandr al- Swed posted a video that shows him with the sign "free hug" , which went viral . Contrasting reactions on social media. Religious police accuse him of "engaging in practices that offend the local culture and public order ."

    09/07/2009 SAUDI ARABIA
    Saudi court sentences 330 terrorists affiliated with al-Qaeda
    Defendants carried out a series of attacks across the kingdom between 2003 and 2006. One extremist is sentenced to death; others, to jail terms or house arrests. It is the first terrorism trial in Saudi Arabia.



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