New Delhi: In a series of conclaves to explore alternative approaches for reducing tobacco consumption, experts have underscored the need for a dynamic regulatory framework accommodating safer alternatives and empowering adult smokers to make informed decisions.
At the interactive seminars held across Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai, over 100 doctors and public health experts proposed a comprehensive framework to generate scientific evidence that supports harm reduction strategies and promotes a healthier India.
Dr Chandrakant S Pandav, a global public health expert, said, “There is a need for a balanced approach, considering both the potential harm reduction alternatives and the regulation of tobacco products.”
“Research and science-based approaches are crucial in distinguishing different tobacco products. It is important to consider safer alternatives for individuals who are finding it challenging to quit smoking, particularly given the additional challenges posed by the grey market,” he said.
Dr Chhavi Gupta, an infectious diseases expert, stressed on the challenges of quitting smoking and the importance of seeking assistance.
“To achieve India’s objective of reducing tobacco users, there is a need to emphasize cessation efforts. Various nicotine alternatives have shown promise in helping individuals quit smoking. Through consultations and public education campaigns, we can provide accurate information and support individuals in making healthier choices,” she said.
Dr Pandav highlighted the importance of understanding India’s unique context in developing effective strategies.
“Through research, science and collaboration, we can navigate the path towards a healthier India,” he said.
On the matter of generating scientific evidence, experts proposed a multi-pronged approach.
They said that to create a healthier India, the country must align with global efforts in harm reduction, research and evidence-based tobacco control strategies.