SCALING UP TOBACCO cessation using mobile technology
The Ministry of Health & family welfare has set up a global knowledge hub on smokeless tobacco at national institute of cancer prevention and research
Tobacco use is a major public health problem worldwide as it has now emerged as a manmade epidemic killing more than 7 million people a year globally all of which can be avoided by stopping tobacco use.
It’s noteworthy that more than 6 million of these deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while around 9,00,000 deaths are among non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.
In some countries, children from poor families are employed in tobacco farming to support family income. These children may suffer from “green tobacco sickness” due to the handling of wet tobacco leaves.
Tobacco use is a leading common risk factor for non-communicable diseases (NCDS) such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, chronic lung diseases and stroke. In addition to the diseases caused by tobacco consumption and those caused by exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke, tobacco dependence itself is a disease.
India is the second largest consumer of tobacco globally with approximately onesixth of the world’s tobacco-related deaths. The tobacco problem in India is peculiar
Second-hand smoke is the smoke that fills restaurants, offices or other enclosed spaces when people burn tobacco products such as cigarettes, bidis and water-pipes.
due to consumption of variety of smokeless and smoking forms of tobacco along with wide socio-cultural diversity.
Notably, Khaini is the most commonly used tobacco product followed by bidi.
In India, according to Global Adult Tobacco Survey-2 (GATS 2016-17), 29 per cent of the adults in the age group of 15 years and above which amounts to 26.7 crore consume tobacco in some form or the other. The prevalence of tobacco use has reduced by six percentage points from GATS-1 (2009-10) to GATS -2.
The government of India has taken various initiatives for tobacco control in the country. In 2003, India enacted the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act (COTPA 2003) for protecting the health of the masses.
India was among the first few countries to ratify the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) in 2004. The WHO FCTC was developed in response to the globalisation of the tobacco epidemic in 2003. The convention represents a milestone for the promotion of public health and provides new legal dimensions
for international health cooperation.
For effective implementation of the tobacco control laws and to promote awareness about harmful effects of tobacco, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW), GOI had launched ‘National Tobacco Control Programme’ (NTCP) in 2007-08. The Seventh Session of Conference of Parties (COP7) held in the country in 2016 shows a strong commitment of government towards international co-operation and awareness of the WHO FCTC globally and especially in the WHO South-east Asia Region.
As per the decisions that were taken during the Sixth Session of Conference of Parties (COP6), GOI has set up a global knowledge hub on smokeless tobacco at the National Institute of Cancer Prevention and Research (NICPR). This hub serves as a repository of knowledge related to smokeless tobacco.
The National Health Policy 2017 has set a target of a relative reduction in current tobacco use by 15 per cent by 2020; a target which has now been exceeded. The next target is a 30 per cent reduction by 2025.
Further to increase the penetration of tobacco cessation support, the GOI together with the WHO and ITU (International Telecommunication Union) has initiated the use of mobile phones under mcessation Programme. The impact of this initiative is very encouraging. India’s experiences are also being shared with other countries in developing mtobacco cessation services, including Tunisia and the Philippines.
Users of the India mtobacco cessation programme self-enroll through a missed call (011-22901701) or web registration service, and then receive tailored advice and support via daily and weekly SMS messages sent to their mobiles. The programme provides targeted intervention support to help people overcome the personal challenge of maintaining efforts to quit tobacco use.
It also generates real-time data on people who join the initiative; how they are using it and if they are quitting or not. This is an important step forward for tobacco control.
Recently MOHFW has notified new sets of specified health warnings for all tobacco product packs by making an amendment in the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Rules, 2008 that will be applicable from September 1, 2018.
The important feature of new sets of specified health warnings is an inclusion of telephone Quit-line number 1800-112356 to provide counselling services to affect behaviour change and strategies for quitting tobacco use.
Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare JP Nadda was conferred the WHO Director-general’s Special Recognition Award for global tobacco control in 2017 at the ‘National Consultation on Accelerating Implementation of WHO FCTC’ for the energetic efforts towards tobacco control initiatives.
In compliance with the MPOWER measures suggested by WHO for effective interventions to reduce the demand for tobacco, India has come a long way in controlling the use of tobacco.
The successful implementation of various control measures like displaying pictorial health warnings in 85 per cent of the display area of the tobacco packs on both the sides, conduction of second round of GATS, strengthening the cessation facilities with the launch of toll-free national tobacco Quit-line and mcessation services and substantial investment made under 12th five-year plan for expansion of national tobacco control programme, ban on smokeless tobacco products and implementation of the tobacco free film and television policy will ultimately play a key role in promoting the health, social and economic development of the country.
Tobacco is a prime driver of poverty and it affects the family as a whole, community and the country and requires a multisectoral approach to control it. JP Nadda Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare
The Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare JP Nadda during the Seventh Session of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Conference of the Parties (COP7) held in India in November 2016.
Union Health Minister JP Nadda welcomes Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena.