Ramadan The Best Time To Quit Smoking

By Ainul Huda Mohamed Saaid

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) -- Ramadan is the best time for Muslim smokers to kick the habit.

This was because a fasting person tended to be more spiritually motivated, said smoking cessation specialist Swinder Jit Jag Singh.

Smokers tended to light up after eating or drinking, so having to abstain from both activities would also lessen the desire to smoke, she said.

"However, after breaking their fast, they would smoke again. So my advice to those who want to quit smoking is that after they break their fast, make it a point to go straight to the surau or mosque.

"Make yourself busy with activities at the mosque. Perform a lot of prayers so that you will become spiritually strong again," said the specialist better known as Sister Swinder.

She believed that if a person had the willpower to abstain from eating and drinking, they also had the strength of will to quit smoking for good.

QUITTING COLD TURKEY

With over two decades of experience and success in treating people quit smoking, Sister Swinder subscribes to the belief that those who wish to quit smoking should do it cold turkey.

"I would advise to stop completely. Based on my experience as a quit smoking counselor of 23 years, this method has the best chances of success.

"I find that those who try to quit by reducing the number of cigarettes little by little had a harder time kicking the habit," said Sister Swinder, who now heads the National Cancer Society Malaysia's (NCSM) Quit Smoking Clinic in Kuala Lumpur.

She said that those who tried to quit smoking by cutting back usually only succeeded for a period of time before falling back into old habits.

"Their graphs (of cigarette consumption) are like waves, it goes up and down but never really stops.

"That is why I would ask those who see me to quit smoking cold turkey. Otherwise it would be a waste of medication," she said.

Those who come to the clinic would be explained about withdrawal symptoms like coughing, cold and headaches so that they could brace themselves for the journey.

After reading and signing the pledge to quit smoking, patients would be given medication or NRT (nicotine replacement treatment) in the form of a patch or chewing gum.

"By experience, in Ramadan, many patients would tell me that they do not need medication. Their willpower tend to be at an all-time high so that's why I urge those thinking to quit smoking to do it now," she said.

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SIDEBAR

QUIT SMOKING CLINIC

According to NCSM, at least 20,000 Malaysians died of smoking-related diseases every year such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, lung cancer and 13 other cancers.

The society launched its first Quit Smoking clinic at its headquarters in Jalan Raja Muda Abdul Aziz, Kuala Lumpur, in February last year.

The clinic is an effort in helping Malaysians quit their smoking and tobacco addiction, in addition to reducing the illnesses, particularly cancer and smoking-related deaths in the country.

To date, the clinic has treated 22 smokers and more than half of them have successfully kicked the habit.

Those interested in seeking treatment can contact NSCM by e-mailing swinder@cancer.org.my or by calling 03-2698 7350.

The clinic is open on Tuesdays and Fridays, from 8.30am to 3.30pm.

BERNAMA