CAIRO: Twenty four percent of Egyptians are smokers; Health Ministry Undersecretary for Preventive Affairs Amr Kandil was quoted by Youm7 Wednesday.
Even more worryingly, 12 percent of the smokers are under 15 years old, Kandil added.
Ministry of Health signed a protocol with Consumer Protection Agency to support smoking-give up activities and to reduce the rate of smoking tobacco, Health Ministry spokesperson Hossam Abdel Ghaffar told Tahrir News Wednesday.
Kandil added that Egypt is a signatory to WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control 2003 that aims to determine the whole problem of smoking tobacco, for the countries to improve its activity to ban tobacco and to ban advertisements and TV series that encourage smoking.
Egypt places tenth among the most tobacco consuming countries in the world, and smoking is the second leading cause of death worldwide, Health Minister Adel Adawy told Youm7 on May 3.
According to a study by WHO, smoking kills nearly 2.5 million yearly around the world. The study also revealed that by 2025, the number of smokers worldwide is estimated to reach 1.7 billion.
Deaths caused by smoking diseases are 4.9 million per year, which estimated to be 7 percent of the total deaths.
A Feb. 22 presidential decree raised sales taxes on both local and imported cigarettes by 50 percent.
Under the decision, the government applied an increase of 0.5 EGP or more on brands officially sold at or below 10 EGP ($1.3) per pack.
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi previously raised taxes on local and imported cigarettes and alcoholic beverages by up to 200 percent in July 2014.