Want To Quit Smoking? WHO Issues Effective Treatment Guidelines To Reduce Tobacco Consumption – Times Now

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Want To Quit Smoking? WHO Issues Effective Treatment Guidelines To Reduce Tobacco Consumption

Want To Quit Smoking? WHO Issues Effective Treatment Guidelines To Reduce Tobacco Consumption (Image Credits: iStock)

Tobacco use remains one of the leading causes of death globally, contributing to cardiovascular diseases, respiratory illnesses, and various forms of cancer. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), tobacco kills more than 8 million people each year, with over 7 million of those deaths being the result of direct tobacco use. Meanwhile, around 1.2 million non-smokers are being exposed to second-hand smoke. Hence, to prevent this WHO has taken a step in the global fight against tobacco addiction by releasing its first-ever guidelines designed to help individuals reduce and ultimately quit tobacco use.

This initiative by WHO aims to provide a framework for healthcare providers and policymakers, as well as tools for the over 750 million tobacco users worldwide. The guidelines target over 750 million tobacco users worldwide, addressing various forms of tobacco products including cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, cigars, roll-your-own tobacco, and heated tobacco products (HTPs). By implementing these strategies, the WHO aims to significantly decrease the global prevalence of tobacco use and its associated health risks. So what are the guidelines? Let’s check.

WHO’s Effective Therapies For Quitting Tobacco


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1. Combination Therapy:

– Combining pharmacotherapy with behavioural interventions significantly boosts the chances of quitting successfully.

– Countries are encouraged to offer these treatments at low or no cost, especially in low- and middle-income regions.

2. Recommended Medications:

– Varenicline: A prescription medication that helps reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

– Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT): Includes products like nicotine gum and patches that provide a controlled dose of nicotine to ease withdrawal symptoms.

– Bupropion: An antidepressant that has been found effective in helping people quit smoking.

– Cytisine: A plant-based alkaloid used in some countries as a smoking cessation aid.

3. WHO’s Prequalification Procedure:

– In 2023, WHO initiated a prequalification procedure to enhance global access to recommended tobacco cessation medications.

– In April 2024, Kenvue’s nicotine gum and patch became the first WHO-prequalified NRT products, marking a significant step in improving access to effective treatments.

4. Behavioural Interventions:

– Brief Health Worker Counselling: Short sessions (30 seconds to 3 minutes) provided routinely in healthcare settings.

– Intensive Behavioural Support: More comprehensive support options, including individual, group, or phone counselling, for those seeking additional help.

– Digital Interventions: Utilization of text messaging, smartphone apps, and internet programs as adjuncts or self-management tools to support quitting efforts.

5. Implementation and Adoption:

– WHO urges healthcare providers, policymakers, and stakeholders to adopt and implement these guidelines.

– The goal is to promote tobacco cessation and improve the health of millions of people worldwide in need of these interventions.

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