Calling On This Number Is Getting Thousands Of Indians To Quit Smoking. For Real.

A helpline, called QuitLine, for battling tobacco addiction, was launched last year on a pilot basis, under the Union Government. Basically, an addict who wishes to quit can call on 1800-11-2356 and book themselves a counsellor who’d earnestly help them overcome their addiction over a phone call. It is toll free, of course.

Pushkar, India- November 19, 2010:A Rajasthani village man smoking bidi at Pushkar Fair on November 19, 2010.

Nearly 40% of the people who had signed up for the ‘cessation programme’ abstained from consuming tobacco for approximately five weeks, three being a minimum, states a Hindustan Times report.

Close-up Of Human Hands Breaking The Cigarette

The Statistics:

  • 16,000 people reached out to the helpline in five months, i.e. between 31st May and 31st October

  • 3,043 people signed up for the cessation programme

  • 28.3% out of them smoked or chewed tobacco within five minutes of waking up

  • 30% consumed tobacco within 30 minutes of waking up

  • 46.2% people cited stress, anxiety, depression and other health issues as causes for relapse

  • 22.3% people cited social and environmental factors as reasons for the same

  • 9.1% people experienced withdrawal symptoms on trying to quit

Uttar Pradesh is the state from where QuitLine received the maximum number of calls.

The officer-in-charge of QuitLine, Dr Raj Kumar said, “The cessation rate is as good as achieved through face-to-face counselling. This programme has the additional benefit of reaching more people because it does not involve physical travel and can be done at your convenience.”

The government hadn’t advertised QuitLine extensively owing to a small number of available counsellors. Six counsellors had remained available to counsel people in Hindi and English from 8 am to 8 pm.

Representative Image | iStock Photo via Getty Images

However, given the success rate, the programme will be expanded to include more languages and to operate 24*7.

To all the tobacco consumers out there, you know how fatal it can get over time. But now you also know where to go to battle it. Let’s do it!

H/T: Hindustan Times

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