Tobacco (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – Health)

News-CRUX-10     19th August 2023        
output themes

Context: The health ministry of India has proposed to place nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) under Schedule K so that in the future they would be available only on the prescription of authorized medical practitioners and not as over-the-counter (OTC) preparation.

Tobacco Consumption in India

  • In India, more than 1.3 million deaths are caused by tobacco use annually, resulting in around 3500 deaths daily. 
  • Apart from the toll on health and lives, tobacco also negatively affects the country's economic progress.
  • According to the WHO study titled "Economic Costs of Diseases and Deaths Attributable to Tobacco Use in India," the economic impact of diseases and deaths linked to tobacco use was estimated to be approximately equivalent to about 1% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Efforts By the Government 

  • Director General’s Special Recognition Awards: Annually, the WHO acknowledges individuals or groups within its regions for their achievements in the field of tobacco control.
  • National Health Policy 2017: The goal is to cut down tobacco usage by 30 percent by 2025, with this aim aligning with the targets for Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) control.
  • National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP): To increase understanding about the negative impacts of tobacco use and regulations related to tobacco control.

What is Nicotine?

  • Nicotine is an alkaloid present in various plants like tobacco and can also be made artificially, containing nitrogen.
  • It acts as both a sedative and a stimulant.
  • Consumption of any tobacco product can result in nicotine addiction.
  • This is because nicotine has the potential to alter brain function, leading to increased cravings for it.
  • e-Cigarettes are the direct source of nicotine and are even more addictive than cocaine.