Use Ramadan to quit smoking

2015-06-11 06:01

MUSLIM doctors in the US have suggested that Ramadan should be used as an aid to help people quit smoking.

Since smoking is among the activities that faithful Muslims deny themselves from sunup to sundown during Ramadan, the holy month, Muslim doctors are suggesting that they build on that smoke-free time to quit the habit.

Dr Tariq Cheema, executive director of the Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent of North America, said that APPNA does not plan to restrict the quit-smoking drive to the mosque.

“We’re trying to capitalise on this, taking it to communities, faith-based schools, letting the children take it home to their mothers and fathers,” Cheema said.

Ramadan, the ninth month on Islam’s lunar calendar, is the holiest month because it was in Ramadan that God revealed the Quran to the Prophet.

AAPNA and the Islamic Medical Association of North America are partnering in the project with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Washington-based civil rights and advocacy group.

Sense of discipline

“One of the important benefits of the Ramadan fast is the sense of discipline that it instills in an individual,” the council’s chief operating officer, Tahra Goraya, said in a statement.

“We can use that discipline to help eliminate a major threat to public health.”

Cheema said such campaigns are difficult because “the problem is that people are not really worried about smoking.”

He said he worked with doctors at the World Health Organisation in the late 1990s to get a WHO convention passed which would include restrictions on tobacco advertising.

“The greatest resistance came from developed countries,” he said.

The WHO finally agreed to a “Tobacco Free Initiative” in 1998, which eventually grew into the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the world’s first binding public health treaty, in 2003.

Cheema said the WHO project was the first he knew of to seek rulings from religious scholars about tobacco’s dangers.

- Health 24

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