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Muslims encouraged to quit smoking during Ramadan

NHS East Lancashire is heavily promoting its smoking cessation services to Muslim smokers to encourage them to quit during Ramadan, which starts today.

The primary care trust is advertising its services in media aimed at the Muslim community this week. It says it should be easier for Muslims to give up smoking completely during Ramadan as they will be abstaining during daylight hours when they are fasting.

The PCT has one of the most ethnically diverse populations in the country. Ninety per cent of the black and minority ethnic population is South Asian and the largest faith group is Muslim.

NHS East Lancashire head of engagement and communications David Rogers said: “A one size fits all approach to smoking cessation would not reach our extensive Muslim population. There are cultural and language barriers which prohibit some communities from accessing the services we have on offer, which is why we have a tailored stop smoking service with advisers from the Muslim community, who can utilise their cultural knowledge and professional expertise to help people quit smoking.”

Halima Khatun, from Bell Pottinger North, the public relations agency working for the PCT, said: “In some close knit communities, people sometimes hold the view ‘if nobody else is doing it, why should I?’ or ‘what will people think?’ So it often takes one person to inspire others. So, as far as this is possible, we are reaching out to the Muslim community to support them in stubbing out this Ramadan.”

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