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Table of Contents   
EDITORIAL COMMENTARY  
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 1417-1418
Implementing mTobacco Cessation program in India to assist users in quitting tobacco: World Health Organization


Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

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Date of Web Publication11-Jan-2018
 

How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Implementing mTobacco Cessation program in India to assist users in quitting tobacco: World Health Organization. Ann Trop Med Public Health 2017;10:1417-8

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Implementing mTobacco Cessation program in India to assist users in quitting tobacco: World Health Organization. Ann Trop Med Public Health [serial online] 2017 [cited 2018 May 23];10:1417-8. Available from: http://www.atmph.org/text.asp?2017/10/6/1417/222706


Dear Sir,

Tobacco is one of the most frequent substances that is being abused by millions of people worldwide.[1] However, the alarming fact is that more than 50% of the current tobacco users will die from tobacco-associated diseases, if they do not quit.[1] The current available estimates suggest that it is responsible for the death of close to 6 million people annually.[1] Furthermore, another major cause of concern is that close to four-fifth of the world's smokers are from developing nations, which are experiencing many challenges in their health care delivery and are often devoid of essential planning and resources.[1],[2]

There is no doubt about the fact that the impact of tobacco on morbidity and mortality can only be minimized with the help of a combination of strategies that aims to achieve avoiding initiation of tobacco consumption by the non-users and the cessation of tobacco use among the current users.[2],[3],[4] In other words, tobacco cessation remains the only approach to save the lives of the people, and its accomplishment cannot be achieved by the health sector alone.[1],[2],[3],[4]

The findings of studies have indicated that a significant proportion of tobacco users are aware about the associated risks but just do not have access to measures (like periodic counseling or appropriate medications or investment by the policy makers, etc.) which can help them attain that goal.[1] It is quite a disappointing global estimate that despite the adoption of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control for almost eight years, only 24 nations have practically implemented nationwide comprehensive cessation services to aid people quit tobacco.[1] In addition, to make the matter further worse, no cessation services have been offered in almost 25% of the low-income nations.[1]

In India, it has been estimated that almost 1 million people die each year due to tobacco-related diseases, all of which could have been averted by assisting people in quitting tobacco use.[5] Furthermore, close to 50% of men in the nation regularly use tobacco and thus expose themselves as well as their family members to the tobacco-related deaths and diseases.[5] At the same time, the issue of questionable access to cessation clinics has also been identified as a key factor that has prevented people from accessing the support they require.[4]

It will not be wrong to say that quitting tobacco is difficult, but by means of innovative measures people can be motivated to achieve it.[1],[2],[4] In fact, a mobile phone-based initiative has been adopted in India with the assistance of the World Health Organization and their partner to bring about an end to the tobacco epidemic by facilitating the access of people to cessation programs.[5] This mTobacco Cessation program is assisting people to quit tobacco intake through the support delivered by mobile phones, as they can register themselves easily and then based on their requirements receive a customized guidance through daily and weekly messages sent to their mobiles.[5]

Advantages of this program are huge as it surpasses the challenge to maintain a personal contact or issues of accessibility, and simultaneously it helps the policy makers to maintain a real-time data to keep a track of the number of people who have joined the initiative, how they are utilizing the services, and even their quitting status.[5] In fact, in the last 8-9 months, close to 2 million individuals have registered and are utilizing the benefit of the program.[5] This is a remarkable success and a source of inspiration for other nations to expand their cessation activities.[5] Also, the program managers should not limit the scope of mHealth to improve the access to health services in the field of tobacco alone and should expand to other lifestyle diseases as well.[5]

In conclusion, it is the need of the hour to formulate specific cessation strategies to help people to quit tobacco and thus achieve better tobacco control on the global scale.

Acknowledgment

SRS contributed in the conception or design of the work, drafting of the work, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work

PSS contributed in the literature review, revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work

JR contributed in revising the draft, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
   References Top

1.
World Health Organization. Tobacco - Fact sheet. 2016. Available from: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs339/en/ [Last accessed on 2016 Oct 4].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. World Healt Organization: Do we have to intensify global tobacco control efforts? J Res Med Sci 2015;20:716-7.  Back to cited text no. 2
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
3.
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. World Health Organization calls for curbing illicit tobacco trade market. Ann Trop Med Public Health 2016;9:124-5.  Back to cited text no. 3
  [Full text]  
4.
Thankappan KR. Tobacco cessation in India: a priority health intervention. Indian J Med Res 2014;139:484-6.  Back to cited text no. 4
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
5.
World Health Organization The missing O: Scaling up tobacco cessation in India using mobile technology. 2016. Available from: http://who.int/tobacco/quitting/scaling-up-cessation-india-using-mobile-technology/en/ [Last accessed on 2016 Oct 5].  Back to cited text no. 5
    

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Correspondence Address:
Saurabh R Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai village, Thiruporur-Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1755-6783.222706

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