After banning tobacco products in the state, the government is now concerned about people switching to other forms of addictions like smoking.
Speaking at an orientation workshop on ‘Tobacco Counselling and De-addiction Services’ conducted by Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute here on Tuesday, Health and Family Welfare Minister U T Khader said, “Now, our main concern is to prevent gutkha users from switching over to other forms of tobacco like cigarettes and beedi.”
He said proper counselling is the need of the hour. Primary health centres have already begun their task and, in six months, results can be expected. He added that the government will not hesitate to ban cigarettes if they get directions from the Supreme Court or the Union government.
On rehabilitation of tobacco growers, the minister said the tobacco lobby used to coerce governments earlier, citing the plight of arecanut growers, but the present government did not heed to such tactics. “Farmers will look for alternative crops and government will help them in all possible ways.”
Workshop for Counsellors
Psychiatrists, psychologists, NGOs and medical college staff were trained at the workshop to help people coming out of gutkha addiction. “We are tasked to look after the patients. During withdrawal from the habit, a few slip into depression and we will take them into confidence,” said Dr Chandrashekar, Professor and Head of the Department of Psychiatry, BMCRI.