- Advisors engaging with Mosques and community centres
- Specialist support for Shisha, chewing tobacco and Khat users
Stop-smoking experts are appealing to Muslim smokers and shisha users to quit for good, not just for the month of Ramadan.
As the UK’s Muslim communities start Ramadan – the month of the Islamic calendar marked by fasting and abstinence – SmokeFreeLife® experts are making special efforts to reach cigarette and shisha smokers with a clear message: “If you can stop smoking during Ramadan, you can stop for good.”
SmokeFreeLife’s services support local NHS efforts across the country and include face to face expert advice, often provided from mobile units, community centres and workplaces; as well as provision of literature, direct supply of nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) and Champix tablets, online advice and a video chatline, as well as a QUIT telephone helpline.
Advisors are also specially trained on Shisha, a form of communal tobacco smoking widely used by Muslims, and others. They also offer support to users of chewing “smokeless” tobacco and Khat, the stimulant plant used in Somalian communities, recently announced to be subject to a Class C drug rating by HM Government.
“We have produced special literature aimed at local Islamic communities, and are engaging with as many mosques as possible to offer a stop smoking service on their premises.” says coordinator and community health expert Leena Sankla. “Our support is based on a four-week quit programme, which fits well with fasting and abstinence through the holy month of Ramadan, which Muslims are required to do.”
Leaflets are being distributed in mosques after prayers, special clinics held, and posters placed in Asian grocery stores. A particular emphasis is on shisha smoking, increasingly popular in the UK, where its health risks are not well understood. “There are very different perceptions around Shisha versus cigarette smoking. Because of the flavourings, people are often unaware that they are smoking tobacco at all.” Leena Sankla added. “With Shisha or cigarettes, the positive effects of quitting start after twenty minutes, and you feel the difference after twelve hours. In three weeks your coronary heart disease risk decreases, halving after a year.”
“We know, from our years of experience around the country, that smokers are four times more likely to quit successfully when they have professional support.”
The Ramadan campaign is being run in all the areas where Solutions 4 Health provides SmokeFreeLife services: Berkshire, the Wirral, Croydon, Buckinghamshire, Portsmouth, Cumbria, Oxford, Bromley, Lambeth, West Midlands, Camden.