Policy action for health professionals involvement in tobacco control
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Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, University of Minnesota, United States of America
Mohan Dental Clinic, India
Central University of Tamil Nadu, Social Work, India
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A603
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Background and challenges to implementation:
World Health Organization has declared tobacco addiction as a disease. Quitters need systematic professional cessation services. Healthcare providers have unique opportunity to identify and interact with tobacco users on individual basis, about the adverse effects, disease sequence, and also provide cessation counselling medication and follow up. Their involvement will enhance tobacco control.

Intervention or response:
The aim was to assess the quitting capacity of tobacco users, their need for health professional care. GATS -1 and 2 reports regarding quitting and involvement of healthcare professionals in tobacco control was assessed and compared. Then digital search was carried out and scooping of the published data was done to examine the role of healthcare professionals in tobacco control in India and need based recommendations were drawn for policy action.

Results and lessons learnt:
In GATS 1 and 2, 38% tobacco consumers reported quit attempt. Those who planned to quit had increased from 46.6% to 55.4% in GATS -2. There is marginal increase in smokers advised to quit by healthcare provider. Involvement of healthcare professionals and cessation services by them are not mandated by policies. National Health Policy 2017, has provision to implement specialist cessation services by trained professionals, but engagement of existing workforce remains untapped. Some have continued consumption, inspite of professional advice. Studies have shown that some health professionals perceive not all forms of tobacco is harmful. There is need for prevention or cessation training in medical and dental curriculum or the production of training programmes aimed at current medical and dental practitioners.

Conclusions and key recommendations:
Considering the increasing number of potential quitters, and the growing need for professional assistance, compulsory training programmes for healthcare professionals in tobacco control needs to be conducted. Networking governance by public private partnership at Government and corporate hospitals be made as a mandatory primary healthcare service.