Tobacco Cessation in India: How Can Oral Health Professionals Contribute?


Tobacco use is described as the single most preventable cause of morbidity and mortality globally, with theWorld Bank predicting over 450 million tobacco-related deaths in the next fifty years. In India, the proportion ofall deaths that can be attributed to tobacco use is expected to rise from 1.4% in 1990 to 13.3% in 2020 of whichsmoking alone will cause about 930,000 adult deaths by 2010. Many studies have shown that counseling froma health professional is an effective method of helping patients quit the tobacco habit. Tobacco cessation needsto be urgently expanded by training health professionals in providing routine clinical interventions, increasingavailability and subsidies of pharmacotherapy, developing wide-reaching strategies such as quitlines, and costeffectivestrategies, including group interventions. The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control(FCTC) emphasizes the vital contribution of participation of health professional bodies, as well as training andhealthcare institutions in tobacco control efforts. Dentists can play an important role in helping patients quitusing tobacco. One of the key strategies to reduce tobacco-related morbidity and mortality is to encourage theinvolvement of health professionals in tobacco-use prevention and cessation counselling. The dental office isan ideal setting for tobacco cessation services since preventive treatment services, oral screening, and patienteducation have always been a large part of the dental practice.