JEDDAH — Nothing can ward off the heat of a warm Jeddah summer evening like a refreshing ice cream cone. What could be more pleasant than strolling down the seaside, watching some thrilling entertainment provided by talented motorcyclists, and indulging in your favorite ice cream?
Many tourists enjoyed all of the above and more last week as part of an anti-smoking event sponsored by Kafa, an NGO that raises anti-drug awareness, Kwality Ice Cream, and the popular Jeddah Cruise Bikers team.
With the aid of ice cream and flowers, volunteers spread awareness on the health hazards of smoking by handing out anti-smoking brochures to residents gathered on Jeddah’s Corniche. The anti-smoking campaign with a cool twist proved to be a hit with the audience. The reading material contained information on the many diseases resulting from smoking, as well as statistics on smokers in the Kingdom, and helpful tips on how to kick the habit.
Volunteers also handed out the telephone numbers of Kafa clinics in Jeddah and Makkah that provide treatment and therapy to help smokers quit successfully and permanently.
Although Kafa’s target audience was between the ages of 13 and 25, passersby of all ages took interest in the campaign. An elderly expatriate enjoying the evening with his family pulled a volunteer aside and demanded to know more about Kafa and the exact location of the clinics. He said, “I did not think that it would be possible to quit smoking after I have been addicted to cigarettes for almost 5 decades, but tonight they gave me hope again and the desire to at least try.”
Ghazi Abbas, the public relations director of Kafa told Saudi Gazette, “This is the second year we’ve educated tourists at the seaside on the dangers of smoking, and we plan to repeat it every summer. Since the Corniche area draws huge numbers of people during the summer, it serves as the perfect place to reach the youth and teach them about the dangers of smoking but in a fun and lively way.”
During the event, Kafa director Salah Al-Zahrani said, “We are not here tonight just to tell people to stop smoking. We also want to promote healthier lifestyle habits among our youth who will be the leaders of the future of the Kingdom. We intend to raise awareness in society on the negative impacts of smoking and on the strategies adopted by tobacco companies that profit from this harmful addiction.
We used ice cream and motorcycles which are both cherished by most young Jeddawis, as a fun way to deliver our message to the hearts and minds of our youth.”
In one evening, over 2,000 informational brochures were handed out, as well as 1,000 ice cream cones, 500 flowers, 500 t-shirts and 300 caps. Buses with anti-smoking placards visibly displayed accompanied the motorcycles as they drove around the Corniche.
Only a few days after the event, Abbas said that over 50 smokers encouraged by the event, had contacted the Kafa clinic in Jeddah to sign up for therapy sessions to help them stop smoking.