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Nicotine replacement therapy can help smokers quit, cut withdrawal symptoms by 70 percent: Study

Know how nicotine replacement therapy aids smokers in quitting by reducing withdrawal symptoms by up to 70 percent. Explore effective strategies for a smoother transition towards a smoke-free life.

Written By: Muskan Gupta @guptamuskan_ New Delhi Updated on: May 30, 2024 19:29 IST
Nicotine replacement therapy
Image Source : SOCIAL Nicotine replacement therapy help smokers quit: Study

As World No-Tobacco Day approaches on May 31, experts are championing a new approach to smoking cessation: Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT). This therapy, heralded as a beacon of hope for smokers, boasts a remarkable 70 percent success rate in aiding individuals to kick the habit, all while mitigating withdrawal symptoms.

India stands at the forefront of the global tobacco epidemic, with a staggering 266.8 million adult tobacco users, encompassing cigarette, bidi, and smokeless tobacco consumers. Nicotine, the chief addictive component in cigarettes, exerts its hold by delivering rapid pleasurable effects upon smoking. However, NRT offers a lifeline, serving as a temporary surrogate for nicotine, curbing cravings, and facilitating the transition toward tobacco abstinence.

Dr. Nikhil Modi, Consultant in Critical Care, Respiratory Medicine & Sleep Disorder at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi, underscores the uphill battle against nicotine addiction, noting that while 70 percent of smokers express the desire to quit, a mere 3-5 percent succeed. The introduction of NRT represents a paradigm shift, offering a controlled and gradual increase in blood nicotine levels, thereby discouraging misuse and fostering successful cessation.

Tobacco's detrimental impact on health cannot be overstated, with its link to cancer, lung disease, heart disease, and stroke well-documented. However, the adoption of NRT presents a tangible solution.

"NRT, available in various forms like patches, lozenges, inhalers, sprays, and gum, can increase quit rates by 50-70 percent by alleviating withdrawal symptoms and cravings," Dr Pawan Gupta, Senior Consultant, Department of Pulmonology, BLK MAX Hospital, New Delhi, told IANS.

The success stories of nations like the US and various European countries, where NRT has been embraced, serve as beacons of hope for India. However, challenges persist, ranging from awareness to accessibility. Dr. Nikhil Modi stresses the urgent need to transcend stereotypes and embrace successful strategies from across the globe.

"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.

As India strives to curtail its smoking epidemic, ensuring the seamless availability and accessibility of NRT emerges as a pivotal step. By embracing this innovative approach, India can pave the way towards a healthier, smoke-free tomorrow for its citizens.

(with IANS inputs)

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