Isis 'borrow' NHS advert to discourage people from smoking

Smoking has been banned under a strict interpretation of traditional Islamic law

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The Independent Online

Isis has appropriated NHS anti-smoking adverts in an attempt to convince people living under their control to give up smoking.

The terror group, who currently hold swathes of territory stretched across Syria and Iraq, have forbidden smoking under a strict interpretation of traditional Islamic laws.

According to an image shared on social media, the latest anti-smoking slogan from Isis would appear to heavily borrow from a Public Health England campaign in 2013.

While smoking and the sale of cigarettes is banned in Isis-controlled territories, a thriving smuggling trade – previously used for weapons and black-market oil – has sprung up to meet the demand.

In Syria alone around 20 per cent of women and 60 per cent of the male population smokes, with similar statistics replicated across many Middle Eastern nations. Experts estimate the majority of the 10 million fatalities from smoking over the next 10 years will be in developing nations.

Isis’s efforts to crack down on smoking have been well documented: from billboards to more extreme measures. Reports have indicated people caught smoking can face instant fines of the equivalent of $65 (most Syrians earn an average of $2 daily) or incarceration and flogging.

Despite this, smugglers report business is booming. “Just selling one pack will cover the cost of the trip — the demand among customers here is huge,” one smuggler – who declined to be identified – told the Financial Times.

Isis has also driven up the cost of smoking: cigarettes in non-controlled territories sell for around $0.50, while the price rockets to $1.50 in Isis areas.