Creating the demand for tobacco cessation - an innovative approach to attract tobacco users contemplating to quit
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Cancer Institute (WIA), Psycho oncology, India
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A513
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According to GATS 2, of the 28.6% tobacco users, 55% smokers and 50% smokeless tobacco users were contemplating to quit. Despite taking various measures, the number of tobacco users approaching tobacco cessation clinics is negligible in India. Moreover, the higher dropout and low quit rate was a concern. Therefore, an innovative concept named 'Dine with a Star' to attract the tobacco users contemplating to quit, was designed and its outcome is presented.

A video message by three celebrities inviting tobacco users willing to quit, to register through missed call was developed and circulated through social media. An opportunity to dine with celebrities was announced for those who quit. The same message was placed as hoardings in four prominent places in Chennai city. The users who gave missed calls (n=115) were contacted and their demographic details including tobacco usage history were collected. A set quit date was announced and they were instructed to stay abstained from the day. The clients were motivated through text messages and real-time counselling over telephone, based on the need.

Of the registered users, 56 (48%) had reported to have quit. Of them, 21 (37.5%) relapsed and 35 (62.5%) had quit. The quit status was confirmed using urine cotinine test. The successful quitters were invited to dine with celebrities. Although, the attractive message motivated them to register, they reported that the regular support offered over phone (self-help tips and motivational text messages) helped to maintain their quit status.

This innovative cost effective approach achieved a highest quit rate when compared to the routine behavioral and pharmacological interventions as reported in the literature. In low resource countries like India, considering the large number of tobacco users, innovative approaches like this would bring results in reducing the tobacco related mortality and morbidity.