The Toll of Tobacco in India | Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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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

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.10

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) 2016-17. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
2 India Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS). National, 2019.
3 Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2019. Seattle, WA: Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), University of Washington; 2021.
4 Siddiqi, K., Husain, S., Vidyasagaran, A. et al. Global burden of disease due to smokeless tobacco consumption in adults: an updated analysis of data from 127 countries. BMC Med 18, 222 (2020).
5 Gupta PC, et al. (eds.). Smokeless Tobacco and Public Health in India. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India; New Delhi: 2016.
6 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.
7 National Centre for Disease Informatics and Research: Findings from the National Cancer Registry Programme Report (2012-2016). Bengaluru, India: National Cancer Registry Programme (NCRP-ICMR) 2020.
8 John, Rijo M et al. “Economic Costs of Diseases and Deaths Attributable to Tobacco Use in India, 2017-2018.” Nicotine & Tobacco Research 2021;23(2):294-301.
9 Euromonitor International, 2018
10 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