RELIGIOUS BELIEFS IN RELATION TO SMOKING: A CROSS-SECTIONAL STUDY AMONG MUSLIM MALES IN THE MONTH OF RAMADAN
A cross-sectional study conducted in the fasting month of Ramadan targeting muslim males assessed their religious beliefs in relation to smoking and their intentions to quit smoking in Ramadan. It was found that there is a strong association between their perceptions on the religious ruling of smoking as haram (prohibited) in relation to their smoking status. Among the non smokers and ex smokers, 87.8% and 73.6% respectively accept the ruling on smoking as prohibited(haram), while only 31.6% of smokers accept smoking as prohibited. Among the smokers, 97. 7% smoke a lesser number of cigarettes during Ramadan, while 96. 7% of them felt that it is easier to quit during the fasting month. The findings suggest that the religious department needs to provide more information and education to the Muslim population as to the reasons of the ruling on smoking as haram(prohibited) on religious grounds. It was also found that the majority felt it is easier to quit during Ramadan and hence intervention on quit smoking programs can be emphasized and carried out on a bigger scale during fasting months in the future.
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