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Tobacco prices to rise again

By the early 2010’s, it is estimated that 1 million people will succumb to tobacco related diseases in India. The habits of tobacco consumption in India is specific to the country and difficult to accurately measure, as they are many forms of smokeless products which are produced locally in small settings.    

In an effort to reduce tobacco consumption in the country, the Indian government is debating the idea of increasing taxes on cigarettes. After increasing the taxes for the 5th consecutive year, prices are likely to grow by 8 to 9% for the year 20161. Other methods of prevention was put forward by the World Health Organisation, which has urged the Indian government to increase the size of anti-tobacco logos on cigarette packs following a recent ruling that has prevented the application of a law that would have forced producers to cover 85% of their packs.

The market for tobacco in the form of cigarettes was estimated to be worth 10 billion UDS in 20142. Pressure from tobacco producers and lobbyists make it difficult and unpopular to undergo tobacco cessation programs. Former Health Minister Harsh Vardhan was ousted from his post and moved to the Ministry of Science and Technology, as he had taken a tough position against the tobacco industry by constantly increasing taxes. His sudden replacement has raised serious concerns about corruption as Prime Minister Modi pledged to run a corrupt free government during his campaign for the job.

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