The first ever 'Smoke Free homes' resource pack for Muslim religious teachers is to be launched in Leeds.

It aims to help Muslim religious teachers educate communities about the health risks of second hand smoke and the importance of ensuring their home is smoke free.

NHS Leeds has worked with the University of Leeds and the Association for Social Development, Pakistan to develop the Smoke Free Homes guide for Muslim religious teachers.

The project has been supported by imams, madrassa (specialist religious schools) teachers, Qur’an teachers, leaders of women’s circles and members of the public in the UK and in Pakistan.

The resource pack will help Muslim religious teachers to work within their communities to reduce the risk of serious health complications caused by living in a home that is not smoke free.

The pack includes activities for children and young people, information leaflets for the wider community and a guide for Muslim teachers.

In a unique partnership approach the guide has been developed jointly in Leeds and in Pakistan.

The award winning Smoke Free Homes project has already been adopted by the National Tobacco Control Programme in Pakistan supported by health professionals in Leeds.

John Lawlor, Chief Executive for NHS Leeds, said: “I’m delighted that all the hard work that has gone into developing this innovative resource has paid dividends.

"I want to thank all our partners who have been involved in developing the project as well as the support we have received from members of the public here in Leeds and in Pakistan.

"I know that the Smoke Free Homes project in Leeds has been recognised nationally and internationally. This demonstrates the value of partnership working.”

Exposure to second hand smoke is particularly harmful for children and babies as it can cause cot death, asthma, chest and ear infections.

In addition, children who are routinely exposed to smoking in the home are more likely to become smokers in their teenage years. Unborn children can also be affected as exposure to second hand smoke during pregnancy can lead to low birth weight.

Dr Ian Cameron, Director of Public Health for Leeds, adds: “Every year, millions of people around the world die and millions more become ill as a result of smoking tobacco. Although many people in the UK understand that smoking is harmful to the health of smokers themselves, the dangers of tobacco smoke for non smokers is less well understood.

“We hope that by working with Muslim religious teachers we can highlight these dangers to the community. Our research shows that there are a higher proportion of smokers of Muslim origin who smoke within the home than the wider population.”

University of Leeds researcher, Dr Kamran Siddiqi, said: “Despite the Government’s ban on smoking in public places, children, pregnant women and adults who don’t smoke are still at risk from exposure to cigarette smoke in their own homes and the homes of their friends and relatives. This is an important public health message and one that needs to be communicated to all groups, particularly those at greatest risk2.

The Smoke Free Homes guide for Muslim religious teachers is being launched at the Makkah Mosque in Hyde Park on Wednesday 19 October at 5.00pm.