Could Ramadan be the answer for smokers trying to quit?

Quit Victoria has teamed up with leaders within Australia’s African communities to launch a timely campaign about the dangers of smoking.


It seems the message that “smoking kills” hasn’t quite gotten through to some new and emerging communities in the same way it has to those who have grown up with it.

Director of Quit Victoria Sarah White said a lot of low and middle income countries couldn’t afford to run public health education campaigns similar to those in Australia.

“If you smoke you really risk your health and that’s the message we have to get through to communities that haven’t heard that message before,” Dr White said.

Kenyan migrant Samuel Malual believes existing advertising campaigns don’t work for new communities because they don’t actively engage them.

“They’ve got nobody telling them, sending the message across to the community for them,” Mr Malual said.

“They might see it on TV every now and then. But most of the older generation that came, they wouldn’t speak English.”

The new campaign coincides with Ramadan, a time when smokers within the Muslim community are likely to put away their cigarettes for most of the day.

Eritrean community leader Yasseen Musa said family and friends who regularly smoked felt better during Ramadan.

Mr Musa said the campaign was essential for his network, as well as the wider African community.

“Now it’s coming in Ramadan time, when everyone is quitting from 5 o’clock in the morning until about 5 o’clock afternoon,” he said.

“It is good time.”

Mr Musa believes some African governments don’t prioritise anti-smoking campaigns, to the detriment of their citizens’ health.

“The awareness is very low, in there,” he said.

“So the government, they don’t have enough resources like what we have here, so people, to let them quitting smoke or to reduce number of smokers.”

The QUIT campaign will air in English and Arabic on radio stations around the country, include SBS Radio, until August 1.