The government will soon launch three more tobacco de-addiction helplines, a top health ministry official said today, adding that the facilities will be set up keeping in mind the linguistic diversity of the country.
The revised tobacco products packaging rules will be enforced from September 1, by which time the new helplines will also become operational.
Addressing the gathering on the first day of the national tobacco-control leadership programme in south Goa, Vikas Sheel, joint secretary of the health ministry, said, We already have one (tobacco de-addiction) call centre in Delhi, which was started in 2016. Three more will come up soon, work is underway. We plan to operationalise them by September.
"The new call centres will come up in Mumbai (Tata Memorial Hospital), Bengaluru (National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences) and Guwahati (Dr Bhubaneswar Borooah Cancer Institute). They will take care of different linguistic needs, as everyone does not speak Hindi or English.
"Mumbai centre will take care of Marathi and other west India languages, Bengaluru centre will operate for south Indian languages and Guwahati centre will take calls from north-east India."
As per Tobacco Products Second Amendment Rules, 2018, two images depicting the manifestation of cancer as a specified health warning should appear on the packaging, with the mandatory messages: "tobacco causes cancer", "tobacco causes painful death". These words must be printed in white colour on red background. The phrase "quit today call 1800-11-2356" should be printed in white text on black background.
Speaking on the existing call centre in Delhi, Sheel said, It offers services in Hindi and English. Trained counsellors guide tobacco-addicts over the phone. The new centres will expand our reach to different parts of the country, adding, We also have a mobile-based text counselling service 'm-cessation' to help people kick the habit, he added.
The leadership programme, which ends on August 10, aims to effectively implement laws that curb consumption of cigarettes and other forms of tobacco.
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