High consumption of tobacco in India

Critically analyse the prevailing high consumption of tobacco among youngsters in India. Describe its consequences?  What steps have been taken by the govt. of India to reduce its consumption.


India is the second largest consumer of tobacco products in the world. That over 27 per cent of tobacco consumers in India fall in the 15-24 year age bracket. Besides the high levels of mortality and morbidity, there is a huge economic cost involved in treating people with diseases caused directly or indirectly by tobacco use.

Consequences are:

  1. A study of healthcare costs by Tobacco in India estimated that in 2004, the direct medical costs of treating smokeless tobacco-related diseases in the country amounted to $285 million.
  2. Tobacco is responsible for cancer of various parts of body like mouth, throat, lungs, stomach, kidney, bladder etc. Tobacco leads to Heart and blood vessel disease, Heart Attack, Chest Pain, sudden Cardiac Death , stroke (Brain Attack), peripheral Vascular Disease.
  3. The out-of-pocket expenditure on medical treatment arising due to consumption of tobacco results in “higher poverty rates”.

Steps taken by the govt. of India to reduce its consumption:

  1. India has signed up global treaty on tobacco control and having numerous anti-tobacco and smoke-free laws.
  2. Higher taxes on cigarettes and tobacco products thereby discouraging the consumption of tobacco.
  3. Recently, India is following the guidelines of International union against tuberculosis and lung disease to reduce tobacco consumptions.

According to ITCP report, while India has been a regional leader in enacting tobacco control legislation over the past 10 years, the laws are poorly enforced, regulations covering smoke-free zones are patchy, and tobacco remains relatively cheap.

The Central government should considers health to be one of the priority areas and  simultaneously implement multiple strategies to prevent people, particularly children as young as 15 years, from getting addicted to nicotine and help the existing users to quit smoking and/or chewing tobacco.

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