New Delhi: Psychological intervention such as behavioural therapy, telephone support and self-help materials are effective in helping smokers to kick the butt, psychiatrists said here Wednesday.

On the eve of World No Tobacco Day, Sunil Mittal, leading psychiatrist and director of Cosmos Institute of Mental Health and Behavioural Science (CIMBS) here, said that the effectiveness of psychological intervention in smoking cessation is well established.

"Each year smoking kills more than a million people. In India alone, we have found evidence that psychosocial intervention increased quitting rates," he said.

"Based on research, it has been confirmed that nicotine is a drug as hard as heroin or cocaine. Tobacco consumption along with alcohol and other substances worsen the effect of tobacco," added Mittal.

According to the doctor, 42 percent of male cancer deaths in India are tobacco-related, while the figure for women deaths stand at 18.3 percent. India has the largest group of smokers in the world after China.

"Managing unpleasant feelings such as stress, depression, loneliness, fear and anxiety are some of the most common reasons why adults smoke. It is important to remember that there are healthier ways to keep these feelings in check like exercising, meditating, using sensory relaxation strategies and practicing simple breathing exercises," said Rosely Jacob, clinical psychologist at CIMBS.

(Agencies)

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