Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Smoking Cessation Clinic encourages tobacco smokers to use the fasting period during Ramadan as an opportunity to take the first steps towards quitting the habit and living a healthier lifestyle.

According to Head of HMC’s Smoking Cessation Clinic, Dr Ahmad Al Mulla, fasting requires abstinence from smoking in addition to refraining from food and drink during the day. He said:

This provides an ideal opportunity for smokers to quit. Ramadan activities such as family visits and prayers can also keep an individual occupied and assist him or her in quitting smoking. Quitting smoking has various health benefits, especially for diabetics. It can result in improved blood sugar levels and blood circulation, increased insulin reception, decreased cholesterol levels, and decreased complications.’

Acknowledging that it is difficult for many people to quit smoking, Dr Al Mulla encouraged seeking professional help, such as through HMC’s Smoking Cessation Clinic, where patients can obtain advice, treatment and support from specialists to enable them to quit smoking permanently. The clinic provides patients with ways to replace their nicotine consumption and cope with withdrawal symptoms, and supports patients throughout the process of quitting.

Exercising, drinking plenty of water after Iftar and keeping away from other smokers are some steps that people can take to decrease the urge to smoke, according to Dr Al Mulla. Avoiding places such as shisha cafes and other areas frequented by smokers will also help prevent inhaling secondhand smoke, which is responsible for thousands of heart disease-related deaths every year.

Dr Al Mulla said:

Lung cancer is directly associated with smoking due to the presence of carbon monoxide and tar that are the leading causes of various types of cancers. Cigarette smoke contains more than 45 poisonous chemicals that can cause cancer.’

Tar inhaled during smoking can cause lung cancer, heart disease, stroke and respiratory disease.

HMC has been the principal public healthcare provider in the state of Qatar for over three decades. HMC manages eight hospitals, incorporating five specialist hospitals and three community hospitals.  HMC also manages the National Ambulance Service as well as home and residential care, all accredited by Joint Commission International. HMC is leading the development of the region’s first academic health system and is committed to building a legacy of healthcare expertise in Qatar. HMC collaborates with partners who are key experts in Qatar and beyond, including Weill Cornell Medical College-Qatar, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and Partners Healthcare, Boston. HMC is also the first hospital system in the Middle East to achieve institutional accreditation from the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education – International (ACGME-I), which demonstrates excellence in the way medical graduates are trained through residency, internship and fellowship programmes.