Posted on May 20, 2017

As Muslim faithful are expected to abstain from a variety of activities including eating, drinking and smoking between dawn and sunset during the Holy Month of Ramadan, Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Smoking Cessation Clinic is encouraging tobacco smokers to use the opportunity to quit the habit and focus on living a healthier lifestyle.

Every year during Ramadan, HMC’s Smoking Cessation Clinic receives hundreds of new patients seeking help to quit their habit of tobacco use. Quitting smoking has various health benefits, such as improved blood sugar levels and blood circulation, increased insulin reception (especially in diabetics), decreased cholesterol levels, and decreased health complications.

Dr. Ahmad Al Mulla (picture), Head of the Smoking Cessation Clinic, said: “Fasting in Ramadan provides an ideal opportunity for smokers to quit so the number of people who visit us with the intention of quitting during this time is higher than during other periods of the year. We are prepared to provide them with professional advice that will help them quit permanently.” He said the Smoking Cessation Clinic provides patients with ways of replacing their nicotine consumption and coping with withdrawal symptoms, supporting patients throughout the process of quitting. Aside from seeking medical help, Dr. Al Mulla said Ramadan activities such as family visits and prayers help keep an individual occupied and assist him or her to quit smoking.

Dr. Al Mulla explained that nicotine, which is the addictive substance in tobacco products, is as addictive as any other hard drug. He stressed that carbon monoxide - another component of tobacco products - is a poisonous gas emitted from tobacco smoking. “This gas replaces oxygen in the blood and causes shortness of breath. In severe cases, it can cause dizziness. Smoking poses a major threat to the health of a smoker and the people around them who are exposed to second-hand smoke,” he said. Tar inhaled during smoking can cause lung cancer, heart disease, stroke and respiratory disease. According to Dr. Al Mulla, lung cancer is directly associated with smoking due to the presence of carbon monoxide and tar - the leading causes of various types of cancers.

“Cigarette smoke contains more than 45 poisonous chemicals that can cause cancer. Exercising, drinking plenty of water after Iftar and spending less time socializing with friends and family members who smoke can help decrease the urge to smoke,” said Dr. Al Mulla. Experts suggest the most effective way to quit smoking is to make small lifestyle changes to help resist the temptation. Making a list of reasons to quit can serve as a reminder of the reasons behind the decision to give up smoking and avoiding places such as shisha cafes and other areas frequented by smokers will also help.

Dr. Al Mulla advised those wishing to quit smoking to also avoid inhaling second-hand smoke, which can be as bad as smoking itself. Second-hand smoke, which is responsible for thousands of heart disease-related deaths every year, contains more than 7,000 chemicals. There is no risk-free acceptable level of exposure to second-hand smoke. Second-hand smoke causes numerous health problems in infants and children, including more frequent and severe asthma attacks, respiratory infections, ear infections, and sudden infant death syndrome.

The Ministry of Public Health, HMC and Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) have partnered again this year to provide the public with information about common health issues through the Ramadan Health website. Introduced last year, the website is Qatar’s first online resource devoted to health and wellness during Ramadan and is available at