“Ramadan offers a unique window of opportunity to intervene upon smoking for Somali Muslim immigrant men, for whom rates of smoking are high.” – excerpt from Abstract
A new article co-authored by WellShare staff and U of MN researchers has been published in the Oxford University Press Nicotine & Tobacco Research. Research done through WellShare’s East African Smoke-Free Program is captured in the article, Text Message Support for Smoking Cessation during Ramadan: A Focus Group Study with Somali Immigrant Muslim Men.This 18 month study was conducted by WellShare staff Abdillahi Kahin, Abdirahman Mahamud, and former WellShare Executive Director, Diana DuBoise, and in collaboration with Rebekah Pratt,
Somali Muslim male immigrants in Minnesota have a high prevalence of smoking, estimated at 44%, compared with the average smoking rate for adults in the United States (14%). In Minnesota alone, 5,900 adults die from smoking related illnesses each years and over 16 million Americans have at least one disease caused by smoking, according to the most recent data available via CDC.
This study explores how faith informs the attitudes and behaviors related to smoking among Somali Muslim men. It highlights how health messaging within a Muslim faith framework, and in particular during the sacred observances of Ramadan, can impact efficacy in smoking cessation programs.
Participants of the study included 37 Somali male smokers living in the Twin Cities. The participants were divided into focus groups that examined:
- The experience of Muslim immigrants quitting smoking during Ramadan
- Views on text messaging interventions to reduce smoking focusing on health and faith
- Views on the relationship between faith and smoking
Participants were responsive to messaging interventions that integrated faith and health content and reported reductions in smoking during Ramadan. This study provided unique insight into the religious, social, and cultural components of smoking cessation among male Somali Muslim immigrants living in Minnesota.