Dr. Rajkumar: The Force Behind India’s Fight Against Tobacco

Our Bureau

Celebrating World No Tobacco Day, the Vallabhbhai Patel Chest Institute, an esteemed medical institution dedicated to chest diseases, highlighted the remarkable work of Professor Dr. Rajkumar, the spearhead of India’s campaign against tobacco addiction.

With over two decades committed to the cause, Dr. Rajkumar has played a key role in the establishment of the National Tobacco Quitline Service (NTQLS), a center run by the institute. Since its inception in 2014, under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, the NTQLS has been relentless in aiding people to overcome tobacco and smoking addiction. This dedication won Dr. Rajkumar an opportunity to represent the Government of India at a globally significant meeting in China.

Launched on 30 May 2016 by the Union Health Minister, Hon’ble Shri Jai Prakash Nadda, India’s first Quit Line Service has been making impressive strides under Dr. Rajkumar’s stewardship. As the number of counselors has increased, the service has broadened its reach. So far, the Quit Line Service has received over seven million calls this year, out of which more than two million were provided with counseling. Among them, an impressive 156,644 individuals have successfully quit using tobacco.

Further emphasizing the contributions of Dr. Rajkumar and his team, the celebration showcased a unique play titled “We Need Food, Not Tobacco.” Through this act, the staff working in the National Tobacco Cessation Service creatively expressed the urgency of the mission. Dr. Rajkumar, sharing his aspirations, stated, “Those who have not started should not start. Those who have started by mistake should quit.”

Dr. Rajkumar’s commitment to this cause resonates deeply in the service’s mission. His leadership is shaping the Quit Line Service into a significant public health resource, setting a high standard in India’s fight against tobacco.


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