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Assessment of Anti Smoking Clinics in Saudi Arabia


Saudi Arabia started to open Anti Smoking Clinics (ASC) in 1994. The first ASC was opened in Dammam, after which they were expanded to reach 20 clinics. The World Health Organization described smoking as an epidemic in 1983. Smoking in Saudi Arabia ranges from 9 % to 24 % of the population, depending on age and region.


We did a cross sectional probability sample from anti smoking clinics in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. From a list of 22 Anti Smoking Clinics, we took 20 clinics in the cities from the 5 Kingdom Regions. A self administered questionnaire was distributed under the guidance and direct observation of the investigator during working hours in each clinic. We first verified that all data were completed by calculating the total answer and comparing this total with the total number of Anti Smoking clinics.


One ASC was not functioning due to lack of location after moving the Primary Health Care Center (PHCC) and lack of space for the clinic in the new building. Out of 20 Anti Smoking Clinics 19 were functional. Most of the ASC were located in PHCCs and only one had a separate location. Each city has one ASC except Jeddah which had 3; two of them are under the Ministry of Health supervision. 42.1 % of the ASCs had only one bed. The supervisor of the ASC is administrative and there were no specialist physician or consultant in any ASC. Ten ASC are given treatment under supervision of General Physicians and the rest are given treatment under supervision of nurses. The annual number of visitors to ASC ranged from 200 to 1300. Unfortunately there was no accurate number for the visitors who quit smoking due to lack of follow up and the movement of the residents. Also all the statistics that were available were for males and the females statistics are not available. The difficulties that face the ASC are mostly due to shortage of staff (47.4 %). The co-operation between ASC and other clinics was reported to be effective and the majority of ASCs (63.16 %) have co-operation.


Although ASCs are doing a great job in treating smokers, however they need to have a specific protocol or guidelines to complete their efforts. The major difficulty that limits the ASCs efforts is shortage of staff, and this must be solved by a part time physician working in the clinic. ASCs need more encouragement and support by both man power and financial means to reach their targeted goal. Incentives should be given to workers in ASCs.