As Muslims prepare for Ramadan, which this year runs from April 12/13 to May 12/13, the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership is calling on everyone taking part to make a quit attempt, to help get their mind and body ready.
While fasting during daylight hours, people will also refrain from smoking, which is why getting the right support is so important to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
To kick start a quit attempt in preparation for Ramadan, there is support available from local NHS stop smoking services, GPs and pharmacies, as well as the Smoke Free app – which Greater Manchester residents can access for six months for free (worth £60).
Quitting smoking has a great number of benefits to health, including reducing risk of heart disease, stroke, lung conditions and at least 15 different types of cancer, as well as improving mental health. Smoking is also associated with an increased risk of COVID-19 symptoms and smokers are more likely to attend hospital than non-smokers, a study has found.
Research shows that if someone tries to stop smoking at least once a year, it improves their chances of quitting for good – and now is the ideal time to give it a go. It is also an opportunity to prepare a smokefree home and protect loved ones from the dangers of second-hand smoke.
Happe Hoque, Health & Wellbeing Co-ordinator at Be Well Tameside, said:
“The lead up to Ramadan is a great time to try to quit smoking, and we’re encouraging people to get all the support they need before the fast starts.
“At this time of year daylight can last for more than 15 hours. Even after this amount of time the benefits from not smoking are starting to happen in your body. These 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.
“Going 15 hours without a cigarette is an achievement in itself, so why not stop altogether? Even if you’ve tried to quit before, don’t be put off trying again. It can often take a few times before you’ll succeed and your body, including your lungs, will benefit immediately once you stop smoking tobacco. Stopping smoking will also protect loved ones around you from breathing in secondhand smoke. The great news is that there are more ways to quit than ever before.”
Dr Muna Ibrahim Abdel Aziz, Director of Public Health for Salford, said:
“We are passionate about supporting everyone to get the right support to stop smoking as soon as possible. We know that smoking increases the risk of severe COVID as well as all the other health risks and costs.
“The best time for someone to stop smoking is when they are about to break their usual routines, and it is absolutely the right time now as the Muslim community is preparing for the holy month of Ramadan.
“Ramadan is a challenging but rewarding month and stopping smoking in advance will help to ease withdrawals and cravings, getting your body and mind ready in preparation. The benefits to your health, creating a home free of smoke for your family and saving money, will put you in the best possible place to enjoy a smokefree Ramadan. With the help of your local stop smoking NHS service you can quit successfully and make this a special Ramadan for you and your family.”
Benefits of a Smokefree Ramadan:
- A month of not buying cigarettes means more money saved. Check out the cost calculator to see how much you can save.
- Within a few days of stopping smoking your taste buds start to recover, meaning you can enjoy your food better.
- After being smokefree for a month, your heart and lungs begin to recover and you are less likely to suffer a heart attack.
- Normal routines are broken during the month of Ramadan, which gives you the chance to break your addiction to smoking.
- Abstaining from smoking during daylight hours means you’re already halfway there. Why not harness this willpower and determination to quit smoking for good!