State of Smoking in India
Party to the world health organization framework convention on tobacco control (who FCTC):
Since the who FCTC:
- Smoking reduction: In 2000, 33.8 percent of men and 5.7 percent of women smoked. By 2010, 23.5 percent of men and 2.5 percent of women smoked. Currently, smoking rates are down to 14.0 percent.
- Bans: Since 2008, smoking has been prohibited in many public places across India. Smoking is permitted in airports, restaurants, bars, pubs, and enclosed workplaces only in designated separate smoking areas.
- Health warnings: As of 2016, India implemented pictorial warnings covering more than 85 percent of cigarette packaging.
- Tobacco tax rates: A 2017 tax increase categorized cigarettes as a luxury good, resulting in a tax rate of 28 percent.
In 2003, India passed the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), which prohibits tobacco advertisements through most forms of mass media. Smoking is banned in all public places, with the exception of airports and certain capacity hotels and restaurants with designated smoking areas. The legislation regulates many forms of combustible tobacco, smokeless tobacco, including Gutka, but does not restrict e-cigarettes or heat-not-burn products. Several states have begun to regulate nicotine-containing e-cigarettes as tobacco cessation drugs under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, making them more difficult to purchase. In these states, e-cigarettes cannot be sold because they are unapproved drug products, and there is a movement to ban e-cigarettes at a national level.
Smoking is engrained in the culture of India, woven into traditions, gestures of friendship and religion. As such, there is not much public dialogue about the health dangers of smoking and methods of quitting or alternatives to smoking.
Views of Alternatives to Smoking:
Across the population, there is little knowledge of alternatives to smoking.
By the Numbers:
- Approximately 130 million people ages 15 and older currently smoke.
- Roughly half of all adults are exposed to second-hand smoke at home.
- About 12 percent of the world’s smokers live in India, making it the country with the second most number of smokers in the world (behind China).
- Up to 60 percent of total cancers among males in India are tobacco-related.
“I would like to tell the people who are not addicted, who haven’t started, that once you are into it, it is really hard to quit.”
– Amit Majhi, smoker struggling to quit