The National Tobacco Quitline Service (NTQLS), an initiative of the Vallabhbhai Patel Chest Institute, has become a force to be reckoned with in India’s fight against tobacco. This noteworthy journey from a modest one-room setup to a nationally recognized institution was a focal point of the World No Tobacco Day celebration hosted by the Institute.
Launched in 2016 by Union Health Minister Hon’ble Shri Jai Prakash Nadda, the NTQLS initially operated out of a single room with six counseling stations. Under the leadership of Shri Ashwani Choubey, the Union Minister of State for Health, it has since expanded significantly. Today, it boasts a team of 64 dedicated staff members operating in two shifts, offering much-needed counseling services to those struggling with tobacco addiction.
As of April 2023, the NTQLS has received over seven million calls, with over two million callers receiving counseling. In an inspiring demonstration of its impact, 156,644 individuals have reported successfully quitting tobacco after seeking assistance from the service.
The celebration highlighted not only the success of the service but also the expansion of its reach. The NTQLS now provides support in 15 regional languages, further breaking down barriers to access. Furthermore, the service’s success has led to the establishment of centers in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Guwahati, which also provide training to individuals from neighboring countries like Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Bhutan.
The remarkable journey of the NTQLS is a testament to the potential of dedicated public health initiatives. As it continues to grow, the NTQLS will remain at the forefront of the fight against tobacco in India, providing much-needed support and changing lives.