July 29 2010
The British Heart Foundation and QUIT are working together to encourage the Muslim community to stop smoking and lead a healthier lifestyle this Ramadan.
Statistics suggest that South Asians in the UK are 50 per cent more likely to die from heart disease than those in the general population .
As part of the Ramadan campaign, the BHF will be training 300 imams in major cities across the UK.
Trainees will receive information they need to help their congregation make positive lifestyle changes including stopping smoking, improving their diet and exercising more. The initiative will take place in Manchester, London, Blackburn and Bradford.
Qaim Zaidi, Ethnic Strategy Manager for the BHF said: “During Ramadan Muslims do not eat, drink or smoke from sunrise to sunset for 30 days. For many it’s the ideal time to kick the smoking habit and lead a healthier lifestyle. Stopping smoking is one of the most important things you can do to benefit your health.
“This campaign aims to give anyone looking to quit the help and support they need to make a change for the better. Imams can play a vital role in encouraging their congregations to make small changes now, in order to protect their heart health in the future.”
Imams will refer people in their congregation to health services, such as their local free NHS Stop Smoking Service, for advice and support on health matters. With local partners BHF will also be providing support to smokers in local mosques across the UK.
The Asian Quitline, a stop-smoking service funded by the BHF will have extended opening hours and offers advice in Urdu, Punjabi and Bengali to help smokers quit during Ramadan.
For more information visit www.bhf.org.uk/southasian