While the entire globe is reeling under the devastating novel Corona Virus, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has issued crucial guidelines to mitigate the impact of the same. Smokers are more susceptible to serious COVID-19 related conditions compared to non-smokers; the effects of smoking on the respiratory system make it more likely that smokers contract these diseases.  Hence, the WHO and the United States Food & Drug Administration recommends Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) to individuals for smoking cessation effectively. 
In light of this, Nicotex (2mg) – a brand in the smoking cessation category by Cipla Health Ltd., embodies the need for robust pulmonary health during the COVID–19 pandemic and urges Indians to quit smoking at the earliest to eliminate risks related to Coronavirus. In order to minimize the dependence on tobacco and tobacco-based products, the brand has collaborated with the State Governments of Karnataka and Goa and taken progressive steps to provide NRT to frontline workers; sensitise and provide counselling support to general population about the life saving therapy.
Both the global research institutions, WHO & USFDA recommend NRT as first line therapy and WHO has added NRT to its Model List of Essential Medicines. It has been noticed that within 20 minutes of quitting smoking, the elevated heart rate and blood pressure drops, after 12 hours the carbon monoxide levels in the bloodstream drops to normal, within 2-12 weeks circulation improves and lung function increases. And thereafter between 1-9 months, coughing and shortness of breath decreases, thus leading to advanced individual health. 
With this revelation and observing the World No-Tobacco Day on 31st May, Nicotex, which works on the certified formula of Nicotine Replacement Therapy, pledges to encourage smokers to give up this harmful habit; raising a new call of solidarity for India during COVID 19 – Tobacco Distancing along with Social Distancing.
To promote safe behaviour, Nicotex has collaborated with the dynamic efforts of Karnataka to protect the frontline workers, who are presently engaged in field work, under high vulnerability, amidst the COVID-19 outbreak.
With the distribution of over 40,000 Nicotex packs to over 10,000 healthcare workers, the therapy (NRT), as per WHO, would benefit smokers, gutka and other smokeless tobacco users in helping to quit smoking; by reducing cravings, anxiety, irritability and other withdrawal symptoms associated with smoking cessation. This would be a part of the joint endeavour to protect our healthcare champions working in close interface with infected patients.
Commenting on the efforts, A R Nanda, former Union Health Secretary, Government of India, said,“Every year, on 31 May, the World Health Organization (WHO) and global partners celebrate World No Tobacco Day (WNTD). I understand that Nicotex has partnered with various states and is working on mission mode to make the country, specifically the youth, free from the harmful and deadly effects of tobacco use in any form. Tobacco cessation programs need to be widely adopted by the states and NRT (Nicotine Replacement Therapy) followed as per the government of India guidelines.”
Commenting on the initiative, Team Karnataka (special committee constituted by the Hon’ble CM to fight COVID) said, “We acknowledge the support of Cipla Health to the Government of Karnataka in its fight against the COVID 19 pandemic. We appreciate the support in the form of Nicotex.”
In Goa, the collaborative efforts of the state and Cipla Health have enabled various grassroot-levels, health seeking measures dissuading the consumption of tobacco among its citizens.
With the launch of ‘Mission Tobacco Free Goa’, the state has been working towards making two talukas tobacco-free zones whilst simultaneously working on having the same effect across the state. The common goal is to bring down tobacco related morbidities by about one-third.
Some of the Mission’s community initiatives involve training health workers, health educators, anganwadi workers, government officials as well as school teachers, and rigorous outreach programs through mobile van outreach.
Commenting on the unique Mission, the Hon’ble Health Minister of Goa, Vishwajit P. Rane, said, “We are proud to say that through our collaborative efforts with Cipla health Ltd. and the landmark project ‘Mission Tobacco-Free Goa’ we are working together towards making Goa tobacco-free, beginning with two talukas, Bicholim and Salcete. Nicotex is helping accelerate behaviour change among smokers and provide a veritable and lasting solution to the severe problem afflicting our state and the country.”
Shivam Puri, CEO, Cipla Health Ltd., said, “Especially during the COVID – 19 pandemic, smokers are at a greater risk. Our collaborations with Health Ministry of various states are helping us to execute these operations at a much larger scale and to reach out to the masses to help them quit smoking. We are striving to further enhance the scale of our initiatives and are working towards partnering with other states in the days to come.”