National Journal of Community Medicine

Original Article

Year: 2020 | Volume: 11 | Issue: 2 | Page No: 64-70

Tobacco Cessation and the Non-Allopathic Private Physician in India: A Survey in Navi Mumbai, India

Author: Himanshu A Gupte1, Vaibhav Thawal2, Kripa Gopalan3, Nilesh Chatterjee4


1General Manager, Narotam Sekhsaria Foundation, Mumbai

2Senior Manager, Narotam Sekhsaria Foundation, Mumbai

3Research Consultant, Narotam Sekhsaria Foundation, Mumbai

4Research Advisor, Salaam Bombay Foundation, Mumbai


Background: Private non-allopathic practitioners are often the first point of medical care for low-income populations in India, and likely encounter a sizeable number of tobacco-users. While there is evidence that physicians’ advice for tobacco cessation enhances quit rates among tobacco users, little is known about tobacco-cessation knowledge, attitudes and practices of private non-allopathic practitioners. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted with non-allopathic private practitioners in Navi Mumbai, India. Results: Majority (92%) of the practitioners had not received any tobacco-cessation related training. Around 85% never ever-used tobacco; 82.5% said tobacco-use was harmful irrespective of age; and all respondents said tobacco products contained harmful chemicals. However, a third (32.5%) said smokeless tobacco was less harmful than smoking and 52.5% said tobacco-use was socially acceptable in India. Only 10% were aware of methods to measure nicotine dependence. Although 97.5% thought tobacco use was high among their patients, only 15% recorded individual tobacco-use in patient files; and a third (35%) referred the patient to cessation services. Female practitioners were more likely to refer for cessation (p=0.043). Conclusion: Only one in three practitioners referred tobacco-user patients to cessation or screening services indicating an urgent need for training and sensitization of private non-allopathic practitioners to increase the reach of tobacco-cessation services in India.

Keywords: Tobacco cessation services, non-allopathic practitioners, private physicians, AYUSH, India

DOI: 10.5455/njcm.20190910080603