In a meeting held on February 23, 2021, in the office of the Iranian Anti-Tobacco Association (IATA), the need to carry out activities to control and reduce tobacco consumption in the next year with the cooperation of the Center for the Management of Seminaries was emphasized.
According to IATA’s Public Relations Unit, the meeting was attended by Hujjat-al-Islam Taheri, director of Specialized Propaganda in the Deputy of Propaganda of Seminaries, Hujjat-al-Islam Ashtiyani, director of Social Harms and Religious Assistance in the Center for the Management of Seminaries, Hujjat-al-Islam Robatian, director of IATA’s Unit for Communication with Seminaries, Mohammadreza Bahrami, director of the Tobacco Control Research Center, and Amir Heshmati, director of IATA’s Public Relations Unit. At the beginning of the meeting, Hujjat-al-Islam Taheri, while expressing his concern over the free use of tobacco in parks and recreation centers in Qom, said, “The free promotion of tobacco in tobacco supply sites should be prevented. Also, strategies must be put in place to shut down unauthorized places to sell tobacco and regulate tobacco supply, along with culture-building for reducing tobacco use demand.”
“In the deputy of Specialized Propaganda, there are four workgroups in the fields of social harms and religious assistance, elites, propaganda figures and groups, and propaganda in places, guilds, and special strata. With the cooperation of these workgroups, it is possible to promote a series of methods for reducing, preventing, and quitting smoking, education, information-dissemination, and demanding antismoking activities,” Taheri added. “People should also be aware of the laws related to the supply and consumption of tobacco and put pressure on the government and the parliament to implement the laws passed in this regard.”
According to Hujjat-al-Islam Taheri, there is a group of 100,000 people consisting of seminary professors, administrative staff, graduates, and other religious students studying in seminaries across the country. “This vast group can carry out very large and effective activities in the field of tobacco control;’ he stressed.
Production of anti-smoking content during the Corona epidemic
“The production of appropriate content and its publication in cyberspace by the Deputy of Propaganda for professors and graduates of seminaries is one of the operative measures in the context of the Corona epidemic;’ said the director of Social Harms and Religious Assistance in the Center for the Management of Seminaries. Hujjat-al-Islam Ashtiyani added, “In this regard, the network of provincial deputies, as well as specialized training for a group of religious students to work in the field of smoking cessation, can also be used.”
Using the cyberspace capacity of seminaries
According to Hujjat-al-Islam Robatian, “Previous activities should be implemented more intensively and the plans on the map should be implemented as soon as possible. We ask the seminaries to help us in this regard as always so that this work can lead to positive results by using the potentials of the clergy and seminaries.”
“Using the capacity of the virtual network of seminaries in the current situation can be very effective. IATA’s Red Card publication, along with other relevant content in the field of tobacco control, can be properly disseminated through this huge group of 100,000 religious students and professors,” Hujjat-al-Islam Robatian added.
At the end of the meeting, it was decided to compile the topics of educational and research activities by the end of the current year and to implement them at the beginning of the next year. Moreover, the directors of seminaries visited Faramuz Nafas-e-Pak (Clean Breath) Unit, affiliated with the Iranian Anti-Tobacco Association, which is dedicated to self-care education against second-hand tobacco smoke for children aged 5 to 12, and became closely acquainted with its activities.