The Imperial Tobacco Company Group holds 58 percent of the total cigarette market, Philip Morris International has 12 percent, while Golden Tobacco Ltd has 11 percent of the cigarette market. In 2008, over 98 billion cigarettes were sold in India. The illicit cigarette trade is a growing problem and accounted for approximately 20 percent of total sales (legal and illegal) in 2008.
Bidi rolling in India is a cottage-based industry employing mainly women and children. Bidis outsell cigarettes by a ratio of eight to one (8:1) in India.
India ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on February 5, 2004.
Smoke-free environments: India has a national ban on smoking in indoor workplaces and public places. Hotels with more than 30 rooms, and restaurants and bars with a seating capacity of over 30 people are allowed to have designated smoking rooms. Enforcement and compliance levels vary by state and city.
Advertising, promotion and sponsorship: India bans tobacco promotion, sponsorship and most forms of advertising. Tobacco companies are still able to advertise through point-of-sale.
Warning labels: Current health warnings are graphic but images are weak and do not convey the harms of tobacco use. Warnings are required to cover 40 percent of the front side of the pack. In March 2010, the government approved a new pictorial warning label but implementation has been delayed.
Tobacco taxes: Tobacco products in India are cheap. Bidis, in particular, are under-taxed and available at very low cost. Tobacco taxes in India are below the rate recommended by the World Bank (from 65 percent to 80 percent of retail price) that is commonly present in countries with effective tobacco control policies.
Association for Consumers Action on Safety and Health (ACASH) (India)
Consumer Education and Research Centre (India)
Directorate of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Government of Tamil Nadu
Government of Delhi, Department of Health and Family Welfare
Madhya Pradesh Voluntary Health Association
Mary Anne Charity Trust (MACT)
National Organization for Tobacco Eradication (NOTE)
Pasumai Thaayagam Foundation
Resource Center for a Tobacco-Free India (An initiative of the Voluntary Health Association of India)
School of Preventative Oncology, Patna (India)
Women's Action Research and Legal Action for Women (WARLOW)
Tobacco Taxes in India [summary]
Based on The Economics of Tobacco and Tobacco Taxation in India
by Rijo M John, R. Kavita Rao, M. Govinda Rao, James Moore, R. S. Deshpande, Jhumur Sengupta, Sakthivel Selvaraj, Frank J. Chaloupka, and Prabhat Jha
Study: Health warnings on tobacco packages: Summary of evidence and legal challenges (2008)
Report: India Should Increase Tax Rates on Bidis (2008)
Report: "Smoking and Death in India" Centre for Global Health Research (2008)
Report: "Bidi Smoking and Public Health" Indian Ministry of Public Health (March 2008)
Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act; May 18, 2003
Prohibition of tobacco smoking in public places; May 7, 1990
Prohibition of Smoking and Spitting Act; October 2, 1997