According to Dr Ahmad Al Mulla, Head of Tobacco Control Center at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), Ramadan is an opportune time to quit smoking.

Dr Al Mulla said that fasting has a lot of positive effects on one’s health and those benefits are especially prominent in tobacco users who give up smoking.

For smokers, quitting is often easier during Ramadan as those who fast are already required to abstain from food and drink, as well as from smoking cigarettes and using other tobacco products, from dawn until sunset.

He said that the positive health effects of quitting smoking begin quickly after the last cigarette. Blood pressure and pulse will start to return to more normal levels and nicotine levels in the body start to decline gradually. The body also begins to cleanse itself of toxic substances, and blood viscosity returns to normal levels. Smokers who quit the habit also start to feel improvement in their sense of smell and taste and their immune system’s ability to fight off diseases improves over time.

The number of smokers who visit the clinic with an intention to quit is higher during Ramadan than during other periods of the year, says Dr Al Mulla because fasting, and the holy month, in general, is an ideal time for smokers to be more thoughtful about their health and the impact that lifestyle choices have on their well-being.

Smoking Cessation Clinic

The Smoking Cessation Clinic provides patients with the tools and support needed to replace their nicotine consumption habit and to cope with withdrawal symptoms. Nicotine, which is one of the substances in tobacco products, is highly addictive.

Cigarette smoke contains more than 45 poisonous chemicals that are known as causes of cancer. Carbon monoxide is just one of many hazardous chemicals in cigarette smoke and this colourless, odourless gas replaces oxygen in the blood and can cause shortness of breath and dizziness.

Additionally, tar inhaled during smoking can cause lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, and respiratory disease. Smoking is a major threat to the health of a smoker and to the people around them who are exposed to second-hand smoke.

Exercising, drinking plenty of water during non-fasting hours, and spending time socialising with friends and family members who do not smoke can help decrease the urge to smoke, says Dr Al Mulla.

Easier to quit during Ramadan

HMC Smoking Cessation Specialist Dr Jamal Abdullah said Ramadan can indeed make it easier for people to quit smoking. He said that the sudden drop in nicotine levels in the blood during fasting can result in withdrawal symptoms such as strong cravings, poor concentration and headaches.

These symptoms are normally most pronounced during the first week of quitting, but they gradually become less intense and disappear over time. Ramadan can help many smokers quit this habit by following a method known as cold turkey, which is based on stopping smoking abruptly. However, some smokers might need professional support and nicotine replacement therapy to help them quit.

Dr Abdullah said they are encouraging smokers to quit the habit as soon as possible before they develop serious chronic diseases as a result of smoking. He added that unfortunately, these diseases can be lifelong and can affect the health of the smoker for the rest of his life even if he quits smoking at a later age.

We see every day in our clinic smokers in their thirties and forties who have developed heart diseases and had to be treated with cardiac stents as a result of smoking.

The HMC Smoking Cessation Center urges smokers to benefit from the services they provide to help them quit the habit. You can contact the centre by calling these numbers: 4025 4981 and 5080 0959. For additional information, visit hamad.qa.  

For more Ramadan health tips, follow this link


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