Tobacco cessation services in India: recent developments and the need for expansion

Indian J Cancer. 2010 Jul;47 Suppl 1:69-74. doi: 10.4103/0019-509X.63873.


Tobacco use is a major cause of preventable death and disease in India. Unfortunately, very few people in India quit tobacco use. Lack of awareness of harm, ingrained cultural attitudes, and lack of support for cessation maintains tobacco use in the community. The significant addictive property of nicotine makes quitting difficult and relapse common. Health professionals have received little training, and very few thus carry out proper assessments and interventions among tobacco users. Evidence from the developed countries suggests that brief interventions delivered by diverse health professionals are effective in tobacco cessation. Combining pharmacologic approaches with behavioral counseling produces better results than a single strategy. In India, early experiences with tobacco cessation occurred in the context of primary community education for cancer control. More recently, tobacco cessation clinics have been set up to develop models of intervention, and train health professionals in service delivery. These need to be expanded at the primary, secondary, and tertiary care levels, and cost-effective community tobacco cessation models need to be developed. Tobacco cessation forms one of the critical activities under the National Tobacco Control Program. Tobacco cessation needs to be urgently expanded by training health professionals in providing routine clinical interventions, increasing availability and subsidy on pharmacotherapy, developing wide-reaching strategies, such as quitlines and cost-effective strategies, such as group interventions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Behavior Therapy*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy*
  • Complementary Therapies*
  • Counseling
  • Humans
  • Smoking Prevention*
  • Tobacco Use Cessation / methods*
  • Tobacco Use Cessation / psychology