FASTING has started for Ramadan and Muslims are being encouraged to quit smoking during the Islamic holy month.

Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic lunar calendar and is a period of prayer, fasting, charitable giving and self-accountability.

To coincide with this, health chiefs in East Lancashire, have urged people who abstain from smoking, vaping and chewing in the day during the fasting period to quit for good.

The religious festival means participants are unable to chew or smoke tobacco or shisha during the time of fasting within daylight hours.

Tracy Sutton, manager of the Quit Squad at Lancashire Care Foundation Trust, said “Ramadan is a good time for people to get into some healthy habits, and stopping smoking is one of those.

"We are aware it isn’t easy for people to stop smoking. However, the health and wellbeing benefits people will see when they do stop for good are definitely worth it."

She added: "People are four times more likely to stop smoking for good with the help of NHS services than with will power alone. By not smoking during the day, now is a great time to take the first steps to a completely smokefree future and all the benefits that comes with it.”