Al Ain: People who smoke after fasting all day are putting their hearts at risk, doctors have warned.

They advise smokers to take advantage of Ramadan to try to quit the habit.

Smoking when a person has not eaten all day is “a highly dangerous act,” Dr Riaz Ahmad Minhas, an expert in internal medicine at the Emirates Clinic and Medical Centre in Al Ain said.

He added that tobacco was harmful whether it was inhaled or chewed.

Muslims should pay attention to religious guidance as Islam prohibits anything that is harmful to people’s health.

“Note it down! Nobody doubts that smoking is harmful,” he said.

Dr Minhas said the human body was in greater need of oxygen, liquids and glucose during iftar following more than 13 hours of fasting in sizzling temperatures.

“Smoking and tobacco chewing contracts the blood vessels and prevents the flow of oxygen,” he said.

This also results in thickening of the blood that increases the chance of smokers developing cardiovascular problems, he added.

Dr Mohan Das, a consultant in cardiovascular diseases, said that smoking, chewing tobacco, and tobacco-filled pan (betel leaves) is harmful whether it is Ramadan or not. “Their use immediately after iftar increases the chances of a persons contracting heart problems,” he said.

He said people either did not know or ignored how hard it was for their bodies to withstand smoke after a day-long fast.

“We advise and assure people that they can quit smoking in this month…it needs nothing but will and courage,” Dr Das added.

The doctors felt that as many smokers were able to fast successfully during Ramadan indicated they could quit the habit without any support. Many of them promise to quit, but their resolve unfortunately goes up in smoke at iftar, they said.

Mohammad Irfan, an expatriate who is a heavy smoker, said he was committed to quit smoking this Ramadan. He smokes almost two packets (40 cigarettes) a day. The habit, he said, had affected his health. “I have not smoked since the start of Ramadan and God willing will fulfil my resolve,” he added.

Farooq Ahmad, another expatriate who used to consume Gutka (a kind of chewing tobacco) said he has also stopped. “It is a very bad habit and I had trying to quit for many months but could not succeed,” he said.

Ramadan helps smokers such as him quit, he added.