In the holy month of Ramadan, various countries, artists and drama makers, especially in Egypt and a number of Arab countries, compete in producing dozens of series and shows for television over the course of 24 hours.
In the midst of these series, many, if not all of them, feature smoking in all its forms: "cigarettes, hookahs, electronic cigarettes and drugs."
The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for banning advertising and promotion of tobacco and its products in dramas, and paying the highest degree of caution and attention in this regard.
It said in a statement that it has unfortunately noticed the terrible increase in smoking promotion during Ramadan drama, which features scenes of actors and actresses consuming different types of tobacco.
"There is an extravagance in showing scenes of smokers without any justification, and in absence of a warning on the screen from the harms of smoking in the month of Ramadan, during which the rate of viewership for dramas are high," WHO said.
These scenes have unfortunately contributed to an increase in the percentage of smokers and encouraged certain groups to pick up this addictive habit, the organization said.
It added that the steady relationship between the increase in tobacco use in drama and the increase in tobacco consumption, especially among youth, has become a fact.
The Eastern Mediterranean region already suffers from very high rates of tobacco consumption among youth of both sexes, it pointed out.
Consumption levels among men have reached 52% (Tunisia) and 38% (Pakistan), and consumption rates among women smokers are 11% (Yemen) and 6% (Jordan), According to WHO data.
These rates range among young people in the age group of 13-15 years 40% (Lebanon and Qatar), and 20% in most countries of the region, and similarly, these rates among girls of the same age group reached 30% (Lebanon), and ranged between 10-20% in most countries of the region.
The organization called for placing notices warning of the danger of smoking on the screen while airing drama involving scenes of smokers.