Tobacco Control in India: Present Scenario and Challenges Ahead


Tobacco imposes a colossal burden of disease and death leading to catastrophic health, social, economic andenvironmental effects. Prevalence and practices of tobacco use in India are varied and disparate. Tobaccoconsumption continues to grow at 2–3% per annum, and by 2020 it is predicted that it will account for 13% ofall deaths in the country. India is now demonstrating a steely resolve to contain the menace of tobacco througha comprehensive control strategy that combines several demand and supply reduction measures. India’s antitobaccolegislation, first passed at the national level in 1975, was largely limited to health warnings and provedto be inefficient. The ‘Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Bill, 2003’ represented an advance in tobaccocontrol. It included demand reduction measures like outlawing smoking in public places, forbidding sale oftobacco to minors, requiring more prominent health warning labels, and banning advertising at sports andcultural events. India, as a signatory to FCTC, is actively involved in combating the menace of tobacco withrenewed fervor. There is a need to devise innovative methods of mobilizing financial and human resources fortobacco control, establish efficient national coordinating mechanisms, integrate tobacco control into health anddevelopment programs and periodically evaluate these activities. The Government must also introduce policiesto raise taxes, control smuggling, close advertising loopholes, and create adequate provisions for the enforcementof tobacco control laws.