For those who are desperate to quit smoking but don’t know how to, there’s help at hand. A National Tobacco Cessation Quit Line, 1800-22-77-87, was launched last week.
The project is a combined effort of a tobacco cessation products manufacturer and the Tobacco Intervention Initiative (TII) centre of the Indian Dental Association (IDA).
A dedicated team runs the helpline in Mumbai. Queries by tobacco addicts are addressed in Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali and English. Addicts are guided how to control their tobacco cravings with the use of gum and medication prescribed by TII doctors. Helpline executive Vipul says, “”We receive numerous multi-lingual calls every day, and we are assisted by language consultants for the same.”” Each call is recorded for security reasons. The helpline continuously airs the message: Quitting tobacco becomes easy with will power and planning.
The helpline seeks to provide one-stop solution to tobacco-related issues. The executives also provide the contact details of the doctors handling the TII centre.
One can also visit the website www.tii.org.into know more about these centers situated in various states. The helpline is a brainchild of a pharmaceutical company that suggests a 12-week plan to assist the addict in quitting tobacco. The helpline, which starts from 9 am and goes on till 9 pm, is mostly busy and one has to often wait for some time before the call is taken.
A visit to an authorized TII centre in Delhi showed that the treatment comes at a cost of Rs 500 per sitting. The plan is flexible, depending on the timing and needs of the individual. Treatment time depends on the response of the tobacco quitter. “”The process involves setting of a quit date and a plan by the individual to deal with the first few challenging weeks,”” says Dr. Ramesh Gupta, who runs a TII centre in Shalimar Bagh.
India has the largest number of oral cancer cases in the world, caused primarily by tobacco. Telephone-based tobacco cessation services, commonly known as quit lines, help in establishing the smokers and in many states, along with comprehensive tobacco control programs they play an integral role in media-based efforts to increase quit attempts in the general population. According to World Health Organisation (WHO), such help lines are essential for any tobacco-control effort due to their easy accessibility and cost-effectiveness.
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