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Tobacco Use

  • There are almost 267 million tobacco users in India.1
  • Among adults (age 15+), 28.6% of the population currently uses tobacco products (men 42.4%; women 14.2%).1
    • 21.4% of adults use smokeless tobacco (men 29.6%; women 12.8%)
    • 10.7% of adults smoke (men 19.0%; women 2.0%)
    • The majority of adult smokers smoke bidis (7.7% of adults overall)
  • Among youth (ages 13–15):
    • 8.5% currently use some form of tobacco (boys 9.6%; girls 7.4%); and
    • 4.1% smoke tobacco and 4.1% use smokeless tobacco.2

Secondhand Smoke Exposure

  • 30.2% of adults are exposed to secondhand smoke in indoor workplaces, 7.4% are exposed in restaurants, and 13.3% are exposed in public transportation.1
  • 21% of youth (ages 13–15) are exposed to secondhand smoke in enclosed public places, and 11% are exposed at home.2

Health Consequences

  • Smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke kill about 1.2 million Indians each year.3
  • India accounts for 70% of the global burden of smokeless tobacco.4
    • Smokeless tobacco use kills over 230,000 Indians each year.4
    • Nearly 90% of oral cancers in India are attributable to smokeless tobacco use.5
  • Bidi and cigarette smokers die 6 to 10 years earlier than their non-smoking counterparts.6
  • 27% of all cancers in India are attributable to tobacco use.7

Costs to Society

Tobacco exacts a high cost on society.

  • From 2017–2018, economic cost of tobacco-attributable disease and death in India INR 1773.4 billion (USD$ 27.5 billion).8
    • Direct health care costs were 22% of the total cost (INR 387.1 billion or US$6 billion) and indirect costs (from lost productivity due to illness and death) were 78% (INR 1386.3 billion or US$21.5 billion).
    • The costs of premature death alone were 75% of the total economic costs (INR 132.4 billion or US$20.5 billion).
  • The total costs of tobacco equate to 1.04% of India's GDP, and direct medical costs equate to 5.3% of total health expenditure.8

Tobacco Industry

ITC Ltd—part-owned by British American Tobacco— dominates the cigarette market in India with 79% of the total sales by volume. Godfrey Phillips India follows with 11% of the market, and VST Industries accounts for 7.7%. Philip Morris International and Japan Tobacco hold 3.5% and 2%, respectively. In 2017, nearly 81.3 billion cigarettes were sold in India. 9

FCTC Status

India ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on February 5, 2004. The treaty went into effect on February 27, 2005.

Tobacco Control Policy Status

For a summary of measures on smoke-free places, advertising and promotion, packaging and labeling, and taxation and price, download the India Tobacco Control Policy Status fact sheet. For more information visit the Tobacco Control Laws website.

1 India Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) 2016-2017.
2 India Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS) 2009.
3 Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2016. Seattle, WA: Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), University of Washington; 2017.
4 Siddiqi K et al. Global burden of disease due to smokeless tobacco consumption in adults: analysis of data from 113 countries. BMC Medicine. 2015;13(194).
5 Jha P et al. A Nationally Representative Case-Control Study of Smoking and Death in India. The New England Journal of Medicine. 2008;358;1-11.
6 Shimkhada R, Peabody JW. Tobacco Control in India. Bulletin of the World Health Organization. 2003;81:48-52.
7 Euromonitor International; 2017.
8 Gupta P.C. and Asma S. Bidi Smoking and Public Health. New Delhi: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India;2008.

Last updated Sept. 14, 2021