• Profile

Nicotine replacement therapy may help smokers quit by 70 per cent, cut withdrawal symptoms

IANS May 30, 2024

Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is the new hope for smokers, as it can boost quit rates by 70 per cent while also helping reduce withdrawal symptoms, said experts here on 29 May, ahead of World No-Tobacco Day.

World No-Tobacco Day is observed on May 31 every year and serves as a critical reminder of the ongoing battle against tobacco addiction.

Data shows that India is home to 266.8 million adult tobacco users, which includes cigarette, and bidi smokers as well as smokeless tobacco users buying products in loose form.

Nicotine is the primary addictive component in cigarettes, which delivers rapid pleasurable effects through smoking. On the other hand, NRT acts as a temporary replacement for a small quantity of nicotine.

It helps control cravings, alleviate withdrawal symptoms, and also facilitate the transition to tobacco abstinence. Said Dr Nikhil Modi, Consultant - Critical Care, Respiratory Medicine; Sleep Disorder, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi that “nicotine is highly addictive, making quitting difficult. While nearly 70 per cent of smokers want to quit, only 3-5 per cent succeed”.

Unlike cigarettes, NRT provides a gradual and very small increase in blood nicotine levels, discouraging misuse. NRT aims to enable people to quit smoking with the help of nicotine delivery systems with reduced addictiveness.

“Without adequate cessation services, 160 million more smokers worldwide could die by 2050. Despite having 19 cessation centres in India, we still have the world's second-largest smoking population. It's time to move beyond stereotypes and adopt the successful strategies of other nations,” Dr Nikhil said.

Tobacco is a risk factor for health and is known to raise the risk of cancer, lung disease, heart disease, and stroke. The widespread use of NRT by the US and some European countries has shown success.

The experts called on India to overcome significant challenges in NRT awareness and accessibility to replicate these successes. “NRT, available in various forms like patches, lozenges, inhalers, sprays, and gum, can increase quit rates by 50-70 per cent by alleviating withdrawal symptoms and cravings,” said Dr Pawan Gupta, Senior Consultant, Department of Pulmonology, New Delhi.

He said quitting tobacco abruptly can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms, including headaches, insomnia, mood changes, and poor cognition.

“This is where non-tobacco substitutes play a crucial role. NRT is effective in reducing the urge to smoke gradually. Safer alternatives such as NRT have seen substantial success in countries such as the UK, Australia, the US, Canada, and France.”

“Ensuring the hassle-free availability and accessibility of NRT could greatly assist Indian smokers in quitting,” he added.

Only Doctors with an M3 India account can read this article. Sign up for free or login with your existing account.
4 reasons why Doctors love M3 India
  • Exclusive Write-ups & Webinars by KOLs

  • Nonloggedininfinity icon
    Daily Quiz by specialty
  • Nonloggedinlock icon
    Paid Market Research Surveys
  • Case discussions, News & Journals' summaries
Sign-up / Log In
M3 app logo
Choose easy access to M3 India from your mobile!

M3 instruc arrow
Add M3 India to your Home screen
Tap  Chrome menu  and select "Add to Home screen" to pin the M3 India App to your Home screen