Access To Nicotine Replacement Therapy Crucial In India’s Fight Against Tobacco Addiction

According to a recent report, experts are recommending a comprehensive approach to fighting tobacco addiction, which is responsible for over a million deaths and constitutes 9.5% of all fatalities in the country. Strategies such as improving the availability of tobacco cessation methods, public education, and the use of approved therapies like Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) are considered crucial.

NRT has been a key player in the fight against tobacco addiction for over 25 years, with experts stating that it offers a 50% higher success rate in quitting smoking compared to unassisted attempts.

Dr. Maini further emphasizes the critical role of NRT in addressing nicotine addiction. She highlights that it provides a systematic and safe means of delivering nicotine to the body. Various forms of NRT, including nicotine patches and gums, are customized to individual smoking levels, ensuring that nicotine addiction can be managed without the need for cigarettes.

India aims to achieve its goal of reducing tobacco use by 30% by 2025, with NRT serving as a crucial first-line therapy, according to media reports.

However, the recent proposal by the Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB) to reclassify NRT as prescription-based, rather than OTC, has sparked a significant debate. Experts argue that such a move could reverse progress in the battle against tobacco addiction and go against recommendations from leading global health authorities.

Experts stress that classifying tobacco as a prescription drug would limit accessibility for prospective quitters and hamper the government’s efforts on tobacco de-addiction.