Nicotine Replacement Therapy

In a groundbreaking move, a recent court ruling has expanded the availability of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) by allowing its sale in retail outlets. This landmark decision underscores the recognized efficacy of NRT in aiding individuals in their journey to quit smoking.

Notably, NRT has long been acknowledged as a safe and effective tool for tobacco cessation and holds a prestigious position in the National List of Essential Medicines since its addition in 2022. This legal recognition further reinforces its pivotal role in public health initiatives aimed at curbing tobacco use.

Renowned experts in the medical field have hailed this ruling as a significant step forward. Dr. Chandrakant S Pandav, a Padma Shree Awardee and former Head of Department of Community Medicine at AIIMS, New Delhi, lauded the decision, emphasizing NRT’s importance in providing vital support to smokers striving for a smoke-free life, stating “This decision signifies a substantial shift in perspective regarding Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT). Understandably, NRT stands as a safe and effective aid for smokers looking to quit, and this ruling now rightly acknowledges that fact. NRT plays a vital role in providing the necessary support to quitters, allowing individuals to gradually reduce their nicotine intake and achieve a smoke-free life – a goal many smokers aspire to. Of late, the lifting of the ban and its easy availability will be a boost to quitting smoking.”  

Echoing this sentiment, Dr. Niranjan Naik, Director of Onco-Surgery at Fortis Memorial Research Institute (FMRI), Gurgaon, highlighted the transformative potential of enhanced NRT accessibility by stating, “This decision is a game-changer because it paves the way for making NRT more accessible. NRT is a safe and effective tool, widely recognized as the most effective form of quitting tobacco aid. By allowing its wider availability, we can empower millions of smokers who genuinely want to quit but struggle with withdrawal symptoms. Enhanced availability of NRT can greatly improve public health outcomes, leading to a healthier future for our communities. Its availability at retail outlets will help people head toward tobacco cessation.” 

The recent court ruling marks a significant departure from historical perceptions, as NRT is now removed from the Poisons Act of 1919, signaling a paradigm shift in smoking cessation strategies. By recognizing the value of NRT and making it more readily available, this decision has the potential to save countless lives and foster a healthier society.

According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), smoking claims the lives of over 1 million people annually in India alone. However, NRT offers a glimmer of hope in this battle against tobacco addiction. Available in various forms such as gums, patches, inhalers, and mints, NRT provides controlled doses of nicotine to alleviate cravings and ease the transition to a smoke-free lifestyle.

With this progressive move towards wider NRT accessibility, there is renewed optimism for achieving significant strides in smoking cessation efforts, ultimately leading to a healthier and smoke-free India.

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