India: Hub To Curb Tobacco Opens

A Regional Satellite Centre for Tobacco Quitline Services, under the Union ministry of health and family welfare, was inaugurated by former Assam chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta at Dr B.Borooah Cancer Institute (BBCI) here on Thursday.

The centre will serve the Northeast, Odisha and Bengal.

Apart from Mahanta, the chief guest, DoNER director Harmeet Singh attended the inaugural function as the distinguished guest.

The quitline centre numbers are 1800112356 and 036122330022. Tobacco packs manufactured after September 1 will carry quitline numbers.

Mahanta appreciated the BCCI's efforts for taking up the cause of tobacco control in the region as its consumption is one of the major risk factors for prevalence of cancer across the Northeast.

"Availability of tobacco products poses a problem for the people in the region. Education and information about the harmful effects of tobacco should be provided to uneducated people in the state. It has been noticed that the prevalence of tobacco consumption is more in the sar (sandbank) areas where education is very less," he said.

Singh appreciated the initiative.

The recent Global Adult Tobacco Survey-2 (GATS-2) of 2016-2017 has shown that compared to 2009-2010, tobacco consumption in Assam has increased to 48.2 per cent from 39.3 per cent.

The prevalence of tobacco consumption through smoking and other means in Assam is 13.3 percent and 41.7 per cent respectively, while the national average is 10.7 per cent and 21.4 per cent respectively, pointing to the much higher prevalence of consumption in the state.

The GATS-2 report also showed that 92.4 per cent of adults believed that smoking causes serious illness, while 95.6 per cent believed that use of smokeless tobacco causes serious illness. The quitline services, therefore, will offer an opportunity to the tobacco users who are willing to quit the addiction.

Twenty-two counsellors, two supervisors and three attendants will man the quitline centre here in shifts of 10 at a time.

The centre has already provided telephonic counselling to 275 people desiring to quit smoking in the last two days of the trial run.  Enditem