Ramadan is `ideal time’ to quit smoking



The holy month of Ramadan is the best time for Muslims to quit smoking, says a senior Saudi Health Ministry official.

Ali Alwadey, director general of the ministry’s Tobacco Control Program, said there are 54 anti-smoking clinics, which include 10 mobile ones, throughout the Kingdom to assist smokers, Arab News reported.

Alwadey said Ramadan creates a conducive environment for smokers to quit because they abstain from dawn to dusk. It would not be difficult for smokers to continue to abstain at night from Iftar to Suhoor.

Emphasizing the spiritual side of the holy month, the official said: “The hand that touches the holy Qur’an during the month, should definitely refuse to touch tobacco.”

He said the clinics are open daily from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. during Ramadan. There are 10 clinics in Riyadh, with one exclusively for women. “Our mobile clinics come to your doorstep to help smokers,” he said.

He said his unit has organized several programs at regional health directorates to combat smoking.

These programs highlight the hazards of smoking and Islamic injunctions about it.

“We are also reaching our target groups through social media channels to reach as many people as we can in the Kingdom.”

He said his unit is also working with the National Committee for Combating Drugs to help people kick the habit.

The Kingdom signed the World Anti-Tobacco Agreement in May 2005.

The health ministry, in cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Atlanta-based Center for Disease Control and Prevention, would launch a Kingdom-wide survey on adult smokers shortly, according to Alwadey.

The director general said that the study would be conducted among 8,000 families living in the Kingdom over eight months.

“The survey will help the authorities plan future programs to combat smoking and will cover all age groups and people from all walks of life,” he said.