Muslims in Tower Hamlets offered help to quit smoking for Ramadan

Dr Somen Banerjee (right) with public health advisers at last year's Bangladeshi Stop Tobacco Projec

Dr Somen Banerjee (right) with public health advisers at last year's Bangladeshi Stop Tobacco Project - Credit: Archant

Muslims in Tower Hamlets are being offered help to quit smoking before Ramadan to avoid nicotine cravings while they fast.

The Quit Tobacco Before Ramadan campaign is run by the council in collaboration with stop smoking advisers, local Imams, health professionals and the Bangladeshi Stop Tobacco Project.

Advice centres will be set up at mosques and libraries across Tower Hamlets, which has among the highest levels of smoking and smokeless tobacco use through shisha pipes in London.

Dr Somen Banerjee, director of public health at Tower Hamlets Council, said: “Ramadan is an ideal time to start healthy habits.

“The health and financial benefits of quitting tobacco extend beyond a few weeks as you greatly reduce your risk of lung cancer, heart disease and stroke.”

The launch of the local campaign comes ahead of the annual World No Tobacco Day on May 31, led by the World Health Organisation, that calls on countries to raise taxes on tobacco.

Smokeless tobacco is widely used by South Asians in Tower Hamlets, sometimes along with other products such as paan, betel nut or shisha pipes.

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But the council says smoking rates are dropping in the borough, with 1,400 people having signed up to local quit smoking services since April.

Dr Sam Everington, chair of NHS Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group, and a local GP, said: “I really encourage people of all ages to speak to your GP or pharmacy and take on the challenge of stopping smoking before and beyond Ramadan.”

For more information call 020 7882 8669 or visit