Dental clinics in India are to act as counselling centres for tobacco users.
As part of an anti-tobacco initiative by the Indian Dental Association (IDA), at least 5,000 dental clinics across India will double up as counselling and intervention centres for those addicted to tobacco.
The initiative has been launched to catch patients at the right time and pursue a ‘scientific approach’ to help them get rid of their addiction, the IDA said.
‘For the past 30 years we have seen loads of money invested into awareness campaigns not yielding results, and the habit of tobacco consumption has gone up 60% in the last decade itself,’ said IDA Secretary General Dr Ashoke Dhoble.
‘As telling people about health hazards associated with tobacco has not helped, we have decided to address the difficulty faced by people in quitting consumption,’ he said.
As part of the programme, applications have been invited from volunteering dentists to spot such cases and act as interventionists.
‘Dentists are the first people tobacco addicts approach seeking help for addressing foul mouth smell and discolouring of teeth. So we thought they could act as interventionists and work at the pre-addiction stage,’ he added.
The dental association will be launching 5,000 Tobacco Intervention Initiative Centres (TIIC) across the country in the next two years.
The members of the initiative will be allowed access to a central website, where they can register their observations, compile data and seek help from experiences of other members.
International organisations will also be allowed to seek data and observations from the central website that might also act as a database for research work, he said.
The government recently imposed a ban on smoking at public places and also issued an order making it mandatory for packets of tobacco products to carry pictorial warnings.