Dr Sucharitha is founding director of the Association for Harm Reduction Education and Research (AHRER)
You will be astonished to see how much work we have to do when we talk about tobacco harm reduction.
Still people in India, especially this population, thinks when it comes to smoking is the only thing that is harmful to them. Whereas chewing tobacco, connect with certain health benefits.
We have to raise awareness for them to understand there are certain lower-risk alternatives.
Healthcare professionals are aware of HIV-related harm reduction, and they are aware of narcotics harm reduction, but only 10, that is dentists and psychiatrists, were actually aware of tobacco harm reduction.
The major misconception to medical professionals in India, during my research I found out when you say tobacco control, we understand prevention, we understand cessation, but what is this harm reduction?
Indian research involving policymakers, there is much less awareness about tobacco harm reduction in its potential when we talk to them.
A lot of people are seeing if you put them on nicotine gums, and nicotine replacement therapy, people are relapsing back to smoking.
Dentists were able to prescribe electronic nicotine delivery system devices and they have seen success with those tools.