Ramadan presents hope for smokers to quit, doctors say

‘Fasting generates willpower, helps break addictive habits’

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Cigarette Smoking
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SRINAGAR — Ramadan is a hope for smokers to quit smoking and other bad habits, as it can generate willpower among them, doctors said.

They said that smoking can have an adverse impact on health, and smokers are at risk of having lung cancer. Fasting in Ramadan is the best opportunity for them to get rid of smoking.

Speaking with the news agency KNO, Dr Showkat Ahmad, working in southern Kashmir, said that besides having enormous health benefits, fasting is the best opportunity for smokers to quit cigarette smoking.

“Fasting develops willpower among people, and a smoker can think that if he can leave smoking for 14 hours while fasting, why not for a full 24 hours and accordingly, forever,” he said.

Dr Showkat said that diabetic patients, who wish to fast, must take special care as it is not advisable for them to take long food breaks. He said taking frequent meals after certain durations helps in maintaining their blood glucose level smoothly.

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“Diabetic patients must check blood sugar levels frequently during fasting. If someone feels symptoms of hypoglycemia, an instant blood sugar test should be done to prevent any untoward complication,” he added.

He added, “Diabetic patients could have slow-absorbing foods, which have a low glycemic index before they begin the fast. These types of food keep your blood glucose level more stable and smooth during the course of the fast.”

Dr Ahmad said that diabetic patients must avoid long brisk walks while they are fasting to avoid hypoglycemia and dehydration; however, they can go for a walk once they break their fast in the evening.

He said patients suffering from chronic diseases must consult their treating doctor before starting fasting, as many decompensated heart, liver and kidney disease patients have to take diuretic medicines leading to frequent urination, which can lead to dehydration.

The general population who are fasting must stay hydrated, take enough proteins, eat a fibre-rich diet, and eat foods containing essential micronutrients like iron, calcium, and vitamin B12, he advised.

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Dr Mir Mushtaq, spokesperson of the Directorate of Health Services Kashmir and Nodal Officer, National Tobacco Control Program (NTCP), said that Ramadan is the best opportunity for people to leave bad habits like smoking, as fasting develops a sense of patience in the person.

“Ramadan is an opportunity to make significant changes in one’s lifestyle and develop the resolve to make healthy living choices,” he said, adding, “The diet should be simple and not differ too much from one’s normal diet. It should contain foods from all the major food groups – like fruits and vegetables; bread, other cereals, and potatoes; milk and meat; fish and dairy food alternatives; foods containing fat and foods containing sugar.”

Overeating cannot only harm the body but also interfere with a person’s spiritual growth during the month, Dr Mushtaq added.

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