Help is at hand during Ramadan for Muslims to receive support in quitting tobacco over the holy month in April 2021 this year.
The last 12 months or so during the Covid-19 pandemic has been hard on all of us including smokers. Smokers are at greatest risk of developing serious health problems (including Covid-19). This is because smokers generally have a higher risk of contracting respiratory infection and, if they develop Covid, smokers are more likely to experience severe symptoms. Stopping smoking will bring immediate benefit if you have an existing smoking related disease or underlying health problems.
Smoking remains the biggest cause of death and illness in Tower Hamlets and almost 38,000 residents in the borough smoke. This represents around 15% of the adult population, which is higher than the London average (13%). Minority ethnic groups are at a higher risk of smoking related illnesses. Reducing smoking among these groups will reduce the health inequalities experienced by these groups.
There has never been a more important time to look after your mental and physical health. Ramadan is a particularly important time in the Muslim calendar and is considered the most sacred month in Islam. During Ramadan, Muslims refrain from eating or drinking (any liquid) from dawn until dusk as a way to practice patience, humility, sacrifice, and self-restraint2. While not forbidden in the Quran, tobacco use infringes several Islamic principles, such as harming one’s health and frivolous spending. Evidence suggests that Muslims who are more spiritual and pray daily are generally less likely to smoke at any time.
Stopping smoking has immediate benefits to your physical health and long term will significantly reduce your chances of developing many illnesses including heart disease, diabetes, COPD, stroke and cancer. While quitting can feel stressful in the short-term new research shows that many ex-smokers mental health improves six weeks after quitting.
Quit Right Tower Hamlets is launching its weekly online drop-in information session to encourage smokers to sign up to their stop smoking programmeStopping smoking with expert help increases the chances of quitting by three or four-hold. Stop Smoking Practitioners will give practical advice and tips on quitting smoking including the best methods available, such as Nicotine Replacement Therapy (like patches and gums) to reduce withdrawal symptoms. In combination with advisor support, Quit Right offers residents a great opportunity to quit smoking and improve their physical and mental health during Ramadan
Some smokers believe that smoking helps you to relax, when actually smoking increases anxiety and tension. Quitting not only improves your physical health –it boosts your mental health and wellbeing too.
- Improved mood
- Less anxiety and depression
- Feel better about their lives
Smokers who quit for six weeks or more are happier and experience less anxiety and depression than those who carry on smoking. Research shows that people who have quit smoking for a year are happier than those who continue to smoke.
There has never been a more important time to quit smoking. Even if you have tried it before – why not give it another go – you can do it. Join one of our zoom sessions to find out how Quit Right Tower Hamlets can support you through this journey.
At this time when we have less control over our lives than we’d like, smokers can take positive control on No Smoking Day. We can support smokers to seize the moment and look forward to happier smoke-free future.
Adapting to the challenges of the pandemic, the service combines telephone and online support, including Zoom video conferencing. COVID secure face-to-face support will also be available, in line with current lockdown restrictions. If smokers would prefer to access a nearby pharmacy to get support to quit smoking, that option is still available (see below for more information).
Tower Hamlets residents who want to quit smoking can self-refer to the service by:
- Calling the helpline on 020 7882 8230 / 0800 1691943
- Emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
- Text or Whatsapp 07474 082 330
- Or for more information visit www.quitrighth.org
Quit Right Tower Hamlets is delivered by Queen Mary University London.
 16. Lapidus I. A History of Islamic Societies. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press; 2002.
 Pratt R, Ojo-Fati O, Adam A, Sharif H, Kahin A, Mahamud A, Dubois D, Mohamed S, Okuyemi K, Graham AL, Joseph A. Text Message Support for Smoking Cessation During Ramadan: A Focus Group Study With Somali Immigrant Muslim Men. Nicotine Tob Res. 2020 Aug 24;22(9):1636-1639. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntz187. PMID: 31563964.