A man smokes a cigarette outside a restaurant in Hamra. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)
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A self-described anti-tobacco organization that warned Lebanon is among the world's most addicted tobacco consumers is recommending that smokers trying to quit turn to "reduced-risk" products such as e-cigarettes. The survey of more than 17,000 people from 13 countries was released Monday by Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, a group funded by an American multinational cigarette company currently marketing its brand of e-cigarettes.FSFW's survey included 726 smokers, ex-smokers and non-smokers in Lebanon, who detailed the thought processes and patterns behind their habits. With regards to Lebanon, the survey's findings aren't necessarily new – Lebanon already has the third most smokers per capita, according to data released by the World Health Organization last year.The solution, according to Monday's conference panelists, is electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, which manufacturers claim are a safer alternative to the traditional cigarettes and nargileh water pipes popular in Lebanon.Despite anecdotal evidence of e-cigarettes and similar "vaping" products helping smokers quit traditional tobacco, Lebanon's Health Ministry opposes legalizing the devices.Lebanon signed the FCTC in 2005, and although it was ratified, Beirut has done little to enforce it.
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