Dr Somen Banerjee, Director of Public Health, said: “As Ramadan is a time for abstaining from addictive substances, quitting before it begins is a great way to kick-start your health and benefit from reducing your risk of lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke.
“Local stop smoking advisers are always available, but they will be even more accessible over the next two weeks to offer advice on free services and quitting options.”
Ramadan is one of the most significant events in the Islamic calendar. During the month of Ramadan, Muslims don’t eat or drink between sunrise and sunset, which is called fasting. Smoking is prohibited during the holy month.
This year Ramadan will start in the evening on May 15 and end on June 14.
The initiative is part of Tower Hamlet’s own specialist tobacco cessation service, called ‘Quit Right Tower Hamlets’, which was launched back in August 2017 as the BME Stop Tobacco Project and the Tobacco Dependence Research Unit merged together.
The service provides state of the art medications and clinical expertise to aid members of community quit their smoking habits and overcome their addiction.
The services include nicotine replacement therapies, e-cigarettes, and free quit tools as well as experts’ support from the local NHS, which include an individual package for quitting smoking to fit the patient’s lifestyle.
‘Quit Right Tower Hamlets’ provides its services to all residents as well as people working and studying in the borough. Patients are seen individually as well as in group settings.
The scheme was formerly known as the ‘Bangladeshi Stop Tobacco Project’. It was formed as an innovative service to provide aid for people who were unable to access mainstream smoking services due to language and cultural barriers.
‘Quit Right Tower Hamlets’ still provides culturally sensitive services for people from the Somali, South Asian and migrant communities who chew tobacco or use paan.
Tower Hamlets has been tackling smoking across the borough, and last year alone the council and its partners across health services helped over 1,350 people to quit smoking. The borough remains to have one of the highest smoking rates.