Ramadan is the ideal time for Muslims who smoke or chew tobacco to stop for good with support from the Quit Squad.
Ramadan is the ninth month in the Muslim lunar calendar and is a period of prayer, fasting, charitable giving and self-accountability. With many Muslims fasting for lengthy periods during the month, those who smoke or chew tobacco are already taking significant steps on moving towards a smoke free life.
Gareth Beck from the Quit Squad said:
“As the holy month is all about abstinence and trying to become a better and more spiritual person why not take the opportunity to stop smoking or chewing tobacco for good. Local stop smoking advisers are working in partnership with a number of mosques across Lancashire. If you contact us we can offer you an appointment within 24 hours. Ring to find out where your local services are.
“With the fasts this year being so long, people who smoke will be managing over 20 hours a day without a cigarette or using chewing tobacco from dawn to sunset. If you are fasting you will have already taken significant steps to giving up your nicotine addiction. After 8 hours, the Nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in your blood are reduced by more than half and after 48 hours, the body and the lungs become carbon monoxide free.”
The Quit Squad has developed five top tips for quitting smoking this Ramadan:
- Mentally prepare yourself with a firm intention to give up smoking this Ramadan
- Break your fast away from other smokers
- Avoid food or drink that you normally associate with smoking
- Do whatever it takes to disrupt smoking routines, for example leaving the table or going outside immediately after breaking fast if you intend to end it with a cigarette
- Look for new distractions wherever possible
You can access the service in your local community by visiting a drop-in clinic (for which no appointments are required) or by attending a one-to-one session. The Quit Squad also offer sessions in the community and workplace. For further details, telephone free from a mobile or landline 0800 3286297, visit www.quitsquad.nhs.uk, or follow the Quit Squad on Twitter @LancashireCare #QuitSquad.
If you want to quit tobacco for good contact the Quit Squad, a service delivered by Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust and funded by Lancashire County Council.
Mohammad Bilal Younis, aged 35, from Accrington gave up smoking after a chance encounter with the Quit Squad. This is his story:
“It was a chance encounter with a member of the Quit Squad that changed my life and allowed me to become totally smoke free. I had been smoking for around 20 years since the age of 15. Before I gave up, I was smoking 20 to 30 cigarettes a day.
“I had gone to the clinic to see my doctor about a separate issue. It was when I was waiting in the reception that I saw some promotional material about the Quit Squad. There was also a welcome pack in an envelope and I was just having a bit of a peak. Curiosity got the better of me and as I was reading it, the Quit Squad advisor came over and asked if I was there for the Quit Squad. I thought to myself that I’d been snookered. I hadn’t come for the Quit Squad but was just having a bit of a look as I had some time on my hands.
“I then told the Quit Squad advisor that I was there for the doctor so she asked me to wait a minute and took permission from my doctor to talk to me about smoking. I still had 15 minutes left to my appointment and so we went into a room with her. The advisor was very helpful and told me everything about smoking and how bad it was. I already knew most of this and just listened. She then gave me a prescription for nicotine patches and then I left. I then went to see my doctor who gave me another prescription.
“On the way home, I went to the pharmacy and accidentally gave them the Quit Squad prescription. I then went to a corner shop to buy some cigarettes and then came back to collect the prescription. When I got home, I opened the bag and realised I had got the wrong prescription. I thought, what should I do. I thought, I’ll just go and sort it out in the morning.
“The next day, in the morning, I had a cigarette and was about to go to the pharmacy when I thought to myself, what’s the harm in trying the patches. Let’s give it a try. Let’s take it an hour at a time. Worst case scenario, I’ll just have a cigarette again if I can’t do it. Five months on and I’ve never looked back. I continued with the patches for 6 weeks and now I don’t even use them any longer.
“I always knew smoking wasn’t good for me, but I never thought of giving it up. I just felt that I was so hooked on to smoking I would never be able to do it. And I’ve never felt better since giving up. I feel I’ve got a new lease of life. I sleep better without interruptions and I now also go to the gym. I can run 2 km without stopping. Before I could only run 100 meters, if that and then be out of breath.
“My family is very happy now. My house doesn’t smell so much and my kids aren’t exposed to secondhand smoke. My wife is over the moon. She was fed up with me smoking. On Eid, we had friends and relatives over and they couldn’t believe I’d given up. They said my room used to be full of smoke. Some of them said that if I could give up then so could they. Some of my relatives in other parts of the country have also given up and contacted their local stop smoking service.
“I advise people that if I could do it, anyone can. Take it a day at a time. It’s like Nike says, ‘just do it.’”