'Strictly implement legislation to reduce tobacco consumption'

Adopt Western method of NRT to suit Indian lifestyle, says Professor

If the developed nations like Singapore, New Zealand and Australia are extremely successful in their attempts to provide Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) services to nicotine or tobacco addicted individuals, the developing nation like India stands nowhere in the star rating of the countries offering NRT, said Head of Oral Biology and Genomic Studies at A B Shetty Memorial Institute of Dental Sciences Prof Chitta Ranjan Chowdhury.

He was addressing a session on ‘NRT Services in India: Where we stand for and what to do?’ at a workshop on ‘Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) services and addiction research’ organised by the Department of Oral Biology and Genomic Studies at ABSM Institute of Dental Sciences at Deralakatte on Thursday.

Stressing on the importance of offering NRT services in a country like India where 30 per cent of men smoke and are largely affected by various tobacco borne diseases, he said an organised NRT services should be provided and monitored in the country.
The NRT service consists of three major components namely clinical service, training and education and research (operational and basic).

During the treatment process, the tobacco will be replaced by some of the replacements like tablets, chewing gums, inhalators and nasal sprays. All the medical colleges in the region should join their hands together to chalk out plans to provide NRT services in order to control tobacco addiction.

There are plans to start diploma, certificate courses, masters and PhD with NRT as specialised subject.

However, in India, the western method of NRT need not be followed completely, but it should be adopted with certain modifications to suit the Indian life style, the professor said.

Raising concern over the increased rate of tobacco consumption in the nation, he said according to the statistics, the number of death caused due to tobacco consumption in India in 1998 was 4.5 million, while the projected death rate for 2020 is eight million. As per the study, 90 per cent of the lung cancer and 20 per cent of other cancers and 25 per cent of the death due to cardio-vascular diseases are caused due to tobacco consumption, Dr Chowdhury said. However, he regretted that the country lacks the maintenance of a proper cancer registry.

He also emphasised on the need to tackle tobacco consumption by strictly implementing the Indian legislation.

Earlier, inaugurating the workshop, Nitte University Pro-chancellor Dr Shantharam Shetty felt the need to find practical solutions to the problems that arise due to tobacco consumption.

The workshops should end up in drawing solutions to the problem by emphasising on preventive and control aspects, he said.

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