Help is at hand for local Muslims looking to quit smoking during the holy month of Ramadan.
Ramadan, which this year runs from Friday 21 July to Saturday 18 August, is the holiest month of the year in the Islamic calendar during which time practicing Muslims observe a period of fasting during daylight hours. This fast extends to smoking and using other tobacco products such as Shisha.
Sue Weston, Smokefree Warwickshire Coordinator at NHS Warwickshire, said: “At this time of year daylight can last for more than 15 hours and even after this amount of time, the benefits of not smoking will start to be felt. These benefits include blood pressure and pulse returning to normal, nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in the blood reducing by half and oxygen levels in the blood returning to normal.
“For a regular smoker going 15 hours without a cigarette is an achievement in itself and we would encourage local Muslim men and women to take that extra step and experience the full range of health and financial benefits of quitting altogether.”
On the subject of Shisha, Sue added: “Many people believe that shisha is not dangerous and that the water filters out any toxins. They believe that as a result it's a healthier alternative to smoking cigarettes and is not as addictive. This couldn’t be more wrong as it is primarily tobacco disguised with a mixture of fruit and herbs and the water does not filter out any of the chemicals that cause cancer and other diseases. Whether you have just started Shisha smoking or have been smoking for years, as with cigarettes, it is never too late to quit.”
“The Warwickshire Stop Smoking Service can offer help and advice on giving up smoking during Ramadan and beyond and I’d encourage anyone celebrating the holy feast to get in touch with us to see how we can help them.”
For more information on the Warwickshire Stop Smoking Service please call 0800 085 2917, text ‘LIFE’ to 80800 or go to www.smokefreewarwickshire.org