Lack of tobacco quitting centres in India: Soma Roy Chowdhury

Thursday, 12 December 2013 - 8:03pm IST | Place: Kolkata | Agency: IANS

Stressing the need for effective implementation of laws on banning advertisements of all tobacco products, cancer experts here on Thursday pointed to the dearth of cessation services in the country.

Such centres, according to specialist Soma Roy Chowdhury, help addicts to shun the habit through tailor-made programmes and also sustain their restraint.

"The quitting centres are basically like rehabs and form an important part of the tobacco control programme as they help individuals to get rid of the habit through a specific regimen," Chowdhury told IANS.

"With the help of counsellors and doctors, such centres aid addicts in quitting the habit," added the expert.

Chowdhury was speaking on the sidelines of the release of the Tobacco Survey Data for West Bengal.

The report titled Tobacco Control Project (Wave 1) or TCP-1, was unveiled by Kolkata's Cancer Foundation of India (CFI), and Healis Sekhsaria Institute of Public Health, Mumbai.

"Once there is a continuity (which happens in such cessation centres) the impact is much more," remarked Chowdhury, CFI state co-ordinator of TCP 1.

Patients could be initiated into quitting through specific regimen according to their "level of addiction", the expert said.

"Counselling is necessary, some medications are needed as well as anti-nicotine patches ... so such centres can make specific regimens for the addicts," she said, adding the government should support cessation centres.

Echoing Chowdhury, state co-ordinator of the Mumbai-based institute Pratibha Kumbhar Pawar iterated the necessity of introducing anti-tobacco curriculum in schools to promote awareness in youngsters about its negative effects.

She referred to the report that states "despite growing awareness in both rural and urban India combined with a complete ban on the advertising of tobacco products, a fairly large part of the population is still exposed to the advertising and promotion of tobacco products".

"Though direct ads (advertisements) are banned, youngsters get influenced through surrogate ads that promote banned products like tobacco and alcohol in the disguise of another product," Pawar told IANS.

She said since most addicts start young (10-12 years of age), catching them young and driving home the point through education is required.


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