Chandigarh: Health Department has decided to expand the ambit of de-addiction centers so as to cover tobacco addicts. The aim of this decision is to further reduce prevalence of Tobacco/Nicotine use in Punjab. This will reduce prevalence of non-Communicable diseases like Cancer, Cardiovascular diseases and Tuberculosis by pledging not to use Tobacco/Nicotine.
Vini Mahajan, Additional Chief Secretary, Health, said that at present, Punjab has the lowest prevalence of tobacco use in country according to the National Family Health Survey-4 (NFHS-4) data (2015-16) conducted by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the tobacco use among men in Punjab state declined from 33.8 pc (NFHS-3) to 19.2 pc (NFHS-4) and in women from 0.8 pc to 0.1pc during last 10 years. Also 24.4 pc men planned to quit tobacco in last one year. This is significant considering the fact that there are 2,200 deaths attributed to tobacco use and 5500 children/youth who start using tobacco daily in India.
Dr H S Bali said that persons willing to quit tobacco can now approach the 31 Government de-addiction centers, functional in the state for the treatment of all types of addictions including addiction to tobacco/nicotine. He added that studies conducted between December 2015 to March 2016 by teams lead by Dr Sonu Goel, School of Public Health, PGIMER Chandigarh and Dr Rakesh Gupta, Deputy Director (NCD) in Punjab using GATS protocol to assess prevalence of tobacco use and other parameters before the actual conduct of GATS survey in the coming year.
As per this study 97.4 pc of the current tobacco users noticed pictorial health warnings on packs. Out of these 61.5 pc thought of quitting smoking after seeing the health warning. The health warnings were noticed maximum in the age group of 25-44 years.
This is quite significant since there was no recent study available anywhere in India showing decisively that pictorial health warning does help in behavioral change in current tobacco users to quit.
Counseling and treatment of tobacco addicts in de-addiction centers will go a long way to eradicate this menace.