Government of India announces inclusion of Nicotine Replacement Gums under the Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana

This comes as an important step to make tobacco de-addiction affordable

Pune, 8th March, 2019: The Government of India (GoI) further strengthened its commitment to fight tobacco addiction in the country by introducing Nirmal, a Nicotine Replacement gum under its Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya janaaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP). Launched on the occasion of Janaushadh Diwas, promotion of Nirmal is a bold step by the government to achieve the objectives as per the national Health Policy 2017. Starting today, Nirmal would be available in various districts across the country in the Pradhan Mantri Janaushadhi Kendras.

Tobacco use is one of the major hurdles to economic development among low income communities and countries like India. Now widely realized, its adverse effects include morbidity, impairment of productivity and heavy healthcare costs, which drives families to bankruptcy and debt traps. 80 per cent of the smokers in India are from low income families and there is an estimated 30 million smokers in the country. Nirmal, the Nicotine gum is expected to reduce the demographic burden considerably.

Inclusion of Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) in the mainstream de-addiction drive is a progressive and welcome move which would have far reaching impact on the physical and economic health of the country. Even though WHO lists NRT (both as a gum and a patch format) as an Essential Medicine to quit smoking, yet NRT had not been adopted as the first form of treatment.

According to Dr Jagannath P, Former State Consultant for Karnataka, and also worked for a WHO-funded project on National Tobacco Control Program “I am thrilled about the introduction of Nirmal under the Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana. When the WHO announced Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) as a frontline aid to the cessation of smoking, it went on to become a super successful means to quell the urge among smokers worldwide. Through this initiative, the government has taken a bold step towards reducing causalities due to tobacco addiction”

It is an innovative therapy which helps quitters with small quantities of nicotine but without the other harmful and cancer causing chemicals which are the usual accompaniments in cigarettes. The small nicotine quantities help a smoker overcome the urge, build the person’s willpower to quit and prevents withdrawal symptoms normally associated with cigarette quitting.

Nirmal is a low-cost solution to combat cancer and other debilitating morbidities, severely affecting our lives and the economy of our fast developing country.

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