Wednesday, 19 September 2007
By Adel Al-Malki
The Anti-smoking Charitable Association has a program to help at least a million people quit smoking starting in Ramadan.
The association offers checkups in their office to determine how much help a smoker needs. "We measure the ratio of carbon monoxide in the body to the efficiency of the lung and heart," said Mohammed Al-Harthi, director of the association in the Makkah region. "There are also psychologists and social workers to counsel the patients."
Al-Harthi advises smokers to get rid of all ashtrays and lighters they have, and to drink more fresh juices. They should also stay away from other smokers during the first week and to avoid drinking coffee and tea.
Mosa'ad Telmes, a smoker who has decided to quit the habit this Ramadan, said that if a person can abstain from smoking for 12 hours while fasting, then it means he can extend doing so until he completely stops.
He admitted to have not initially gone cold turkey the first day. However, when his kids pointed out that he has already abstained from morning till breakfast time, Telmes realized that he has the willpower to drop the habit for good.
Yosef Ahmad, another smoker who has been into the habit for 32 years , stopped smoking on the eve of Ramadan upon advice of a friend.
He admits to have initially resented the advice, arguing that he began smoking at a young age and that "nicotine, not blood" courses through his veins.
"But the man insisted on his advice and before long, we found ourselves praying to Allah to help me quit smoking," said Ahmad who uses nicotine patches and chewing gum whenever he craves for cigarettes.
The biggest obstacle to quitting the habit is the craving during breakfast time, according to 21-year-old Saeed Saleh.
"Lighting a cigarette is the first thing some of my friend's do at breakfast," he said.