Specialist pulmonologist Dr Sonal Jagtap explains the dangers of smoking and how Ramadan can help you quit.
Ramadan is a time to celebrate, a time to reconnect with faith. Fasting and prayers during Ramadan give strength to the body, mind and soul. The ban on daylight smoking brings a great opportunity to quit this harmful activity.
However, enjoying shisha is also common during Ramadan, with many tents making it a feature of their entertainment. But many smokers are unaware that one puff of shisha is equal to five to 10 cigarettes (based on the content and pattern of smoking), that means an average of one hour of shisha smoke is approximately equal to smoking 50 to 75 cigarettes.
Smoke from cigarettes and shisha contains more than 4,000 chemicals and 60 of them are proven to damage nearly every organ in the body. Smoke causes lung and oral cancers, breathing problems, increased risk of pneumonia, heart attack and stroke, weakens the bones, decreases the vision and causes many other diseases. Smokers also often expose their loved ones to these toxic chemicals and children are especially vulnerable, particularly to asthma.
Hence, it is advisable never to start smoking. But if you are already a smoker, here are some steps that could help you quit the habit:
• Make a list of all the thoughts that make you want to give up; for example, love for family, health problems, etc.
• Set a date and time to give up; if not the first day of Ramadan, any other day is a blessing.
• There are two ways to quit. Either reduce slowly over one to two weeks or stop ‘cold turkey’. You can choose either.
• Throw away all the items related to smoking.
• Find a friend who can help and follow up.
• Most individuals don’t smoke during fasting hours. All you must do is to keep up the good work even after Iftar and don’t let go after Eid.
• The first few days will be difficult to fast as well as quitting but, done together, it will really help.
• Even if you ‘give in’ at some point, don’t give up giving up. One cigarette doesn’t mean you have to continue smoking again.
All you need is a strong will. Many quit smoking and so can you.
Make a resolution this Holy Month of Ramadan. Take your first steps to quit smoking and help others do the same.
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