People are being encouraged to get in touch for help and support to stop smoking during Ramadan and to quit for good once the fasting period is over.
Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic lunar calendar and is a period of prayer, fasting, charitable giving and self-accountability. To coincide with this, Quit Squad, your local stop smoking service, is campaigning to raise awareness of the health benefits of quitting smoking and to encourage people who abstain from smoking, vaping and chewing in the day during the fasting period to quit for good.
The religious festival means participants are unable to chew or smoke tobacco or shisha during the time of fasting within daylight hours. By doing so, people are already part way through the battle of being able to quit for good. Chewing tobacco can also be known as betel quid, paan or gutkha, and is a mixture of ingredients that include nuts, spices and often tobacco wrapped in a betel leaf. Kicking the habit reduces the risk of some cancers, heart disease and stroke, and can improve blood pressure and cholesterol.
Tracy Sutton, Quit Squad Manager at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, said:
“Ramadan is a good time for people to get into some healthy habits, and stopping smoking is one of those. We are aware it isn’t easy for people to stop smoking. However, the health and wellbeing benefits people will see when they do stop for good are definitely worth it.
“During the fasting in Ramadan, people who smoke will be managing the majority of the day without a cigarette or using chewing tobacco. 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.
“People are four times more likely to stop smoking for good with the help of NHS services than with will power alone. By not smoking during the day, now is a great time to take the first steps to a completely smokefree future and all the benefits that comes with it.”
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
In addition to drop-in clinics (for which no appointments are required) and one-to-one sessions, the Quit Squad also offers group sessions in the community and operates in Central, North, East and West Lancashire. For further details, telephone 0800 3286297, visit www.quitsquad.nhs.uk, or follow the Quit Squad on Twitter @LancashireCare #QuitSquad. For further information on Smoke Free Pledges telephone 01706 871740 or visit www.lancashiresmokefreehomes.co.uk.