A special fatwa issued by a religious body in Dubai has permitted smokers to use nicotine patches during the month of Ramadan to deal with withdrawal symptoms, saying it does not violate the observance of fasting.
The Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department in Dubai issues a list of fatwas daily to help Muslims observe their fast in the right manner during Ramadan.
"Nicotine patches, which can help smokers to deal with their withdrawal symptoms during the day, are permitted," the fatwa said.
"It is allowed to use these patches as they are not nutritious and the substances in it are absorbed through the skin and blood and not passed through the abdomen," stated the fatwa.
The fatwa observes that nicotine is a natural substance that is toxic. It is regarded as one of the most dangerous of the harmful substances found in tobacco and the cause of addiction in smokers.
Scientists have tried hard to come up with alternatives that will help the smoker get rid of the harmful addiction by manufacturing a lighter version of nicotine in the form of pills, chewing gum or sticks like cigarettes, or patches containing varying amounts of nicotine, to introduce the smoker gradually to alternatives.
The fatwa also noted that a nicotine patch is like a sticker which releases nicotine in the form of a gel which is absorbed by the skin. Then the nicotine passes via the capillaries into the bloodstream and helps the smoker avoid withdrawal symptoms.
The ruling clearly states that nicotine patches are permissible to avert withdrawal symptoms but not if they induce harmful effects.