News and Update
More People Willing to Stub the Stick: Docs
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31 May 2010
By Shweta Singh Pune, India
Despite the known hazards of smoking, the habit is by no means going out of fashion. However, countering this unhealthy trend, is the increasing number of people seeking out professional help to kick the addiction, say experts.
Chest physician Nitin Abhyankar, who has been actively working towards tobacco cessation through medication and counselling at the Jehangir hospital for the last ten years, says,“As compared to the four or five people straying in for our help, the number now stands at around nine hopefuls a month.”
Abhayankar feels that there is much more to anti–tobacco campaigns than just creating awareness.“Our work doesn’t stop with doling out information on the sideeffects of smoking or tobacco–related illnesses. We have to ensure that the society as a whole becomes tobacco free. For this, we need to put into place preventive and corrective health care systems.”
Speaking about available medical assistance to help boot out the habit, he says,“At present, there are two effective drugs available in the market, which help people get out of the clutches of tobacco, but these need to be taken under medical supervision.” One session of counselling, followed by seven to nine weeks of medication have helped dissuade individuals from tobacco consumption, he adds.
Meanwhile, the Indian Medical Association, Pune, and the ENT Surgeon of India (Association of Otolaryngologists of India), Tilak road, Pune, have come together in a unique anti–tobacco initiative. Sharad Agarkhedkar, president, IMA, Pune, says,“We are coming out with a questionnaire related to smoking and tobacco consumption. We will analyse the responses and will accordingly begin a mass education programme. On June 5, on the occasion of the World Environment Day, a special seminar is being planned which will touch the topic of stubbing the nicotine stick and related de–addiction programmes are being planned.”
Also, to increase awareness about the ills of smoking and tobacco consumption, he says that on May 31, messages will be aired and queries of smokers will be answered on radio.
ENT surgeon Vandana Joshi, president, ENT Surgeon Association, Pune, says,“There is definitely a rise in the number of people who want to quit smoking. There are many therapies available which help kick the habit. Usually, nicotine substitutes are expensive and out of reach for common people. So we encourage counselling as a reliable and affordable option.”
“We are in the process of organising lectures in educational institutions, including schools, to make people aware of the ill effects of ‘gutkha’, tobacco, smoking and ‘hookah’. The programme is exhaustive and will continue for six months,” she adds.