GUWAHATI, July 25 - The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (Tobacco Control Division), Government of India, will set up a Regional Satellite Centre of Tobacco Quitline Services (RSCTQS) at the Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute (BBCI), Guwahati.
Dr Amal Chandra Kataki, Director of BBCI, said that the Ministry would provide full funding for the infrastructure development, salary of 22 counsellors, and other ancillary support to run the quitline service centre.
The quitline service centre will be inaugurated on August 15 and the work in this regard, like manpower recruitment, has already been initiated, Dr Kataki said.
�The tobacco quitline service will be a milestone development as far as tobacco control in the State and the entire North East is concerned as it will provide an opportunity to the large number of tobacco users to quit its consumption and hence, addiction. Dedicated counsellors will provide telephonic counselling at the RSCTQS,� he said.
As per the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) report of 2010, the national prevalence of tobacco consumption was 34.6 per cent, which decreased to 28.6 per cent in 2017.
However, in Assam tobacco consumption has increased from 39.3 per cent in 2010 to 48.2 per cent in 2017. All other NE states except Sikkim have a high prevalence of tobacco consumption.
�Because of this reason, tobacco-related cancers (TRC) in the north-eastern states are highest in the country as per the National Cancer Registry Programme of the Indian Council of Medical Research,� said Dr Kataki.
In Meghalaya and Tripura TRC constitutes 65.2 per cent and 53.8 per cent in men, respectively. In Assam, TRC constitutes 46-52 per cent in men and 20-25 per cent in women.
As per the report of Public Health Foundation of India, the Government of Assam spent Rs 157.8 crore for treatment of tobacco-related diseases in 2011 out of its total health budget of Rs 542 crore for that year.
In Assam, about 3.2 lakh packets of cigarette and 6.5 lakh sachets of gutkha are sold daily.
The Global School Personnel Survey (GSPS) states that 34.2 per cent of the children in the North East states consume tobacco as against 13 per cent in the south Indian states.