Tobacco control may be part of medical courses soon

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If everything goes according to plan, India may soon introduce “tobacco control and cessation” in the curriculum for Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS). The Dental Council of India (DCI) had accepted a proposal for the introduction of the subject to the curriculum in its last executive committee meeting. The final approval is now lying pending with the union health ministry. A draft syllabus on tobacco control and cessation in dental clinics has also been formulated for being incorporated into the BDS syllabus. According to a ministry note, dental practitioners are the first point of contact for patients who maybe suffering from pre-cancer lesions and oral cancer, apart from discoloration of teeth and diseases of the gum. The note says that the existing curriculum for BDS courses does not adequately address issues such as tobacco use and cessation. It further adds that the DCI is seeking approval from the union ministry of health for the inclusion of the topic tobacco control in the syllabus for community dentistry. “The Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) that was recently released revealed that around a third of adults in India consume tobacco. 26% of these consume smokeless tobacco. India has the highest rate of oral cancer in the world at 80%-90%.” Introducing tobacco control and cessation as part of the MBBS course is also being considered by the MCI. The plan would mean introducing tobacco as part of courses such as pharmacology, community medicine, psychiatry, surgery, pathology and biochemistry.

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