India has a unique pattern of tobacco consumption
Legal Cigarettes account for just 10% of overall tobacco consumed. The balance 90% consumption is represented by traditional products like chewing tobacco, beedis, khaini etc. and illegal Cigarettes. This is unlike rest of the world where tobacco is synonymous with Cigarettes representing 90% of tobacco consumption.
- List of Non-Cigarette Tobacco Products Consumed in India
- List of Unbranded Tobacco Products Consumed in India Produced in the Unorganised Sector
Cigarette consumers are the smallest constituent of adult tobacco users in India
According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2016-17 (GATS-2), published by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India, while the consumer base of tobacco users in India is 28.6% of adults, the adult cigarette consumer base is only 4%.
Source: Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) – India 2016-17,
Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Govt. of India
The small share of Cigarettes’ in the overall tobacco consumption is a result of high & discriminatory tax policy – as per data available up to 2016-17, on a per Kg basis of tobacco consumption, Cigarettes taxes are 55 times higher than other tobacco products as against about 28 times higher in 2005-06:
Source: Ministry of Finance, Govt. of India; Industry Estimates
Discriminatory tobacco taxation policy is leading to increase in overall tobacco consumption whilst cigarettes consumption is declining.
Tobacco Consumption in India (Million Kgs./Percentage Share)
|Year||Legal Cigarettes||Other Tobacco forms*||Total*|
|1981 – 82||86
|2016 – 17||52
Source: USDA; Tobacco Board; FAO
* Includes illegal cigarettes
Over the last three decades, the legal cigarettes’ share of total tobacco consumption in India has declined from 21% in 1981-82 to 10% in 2016-17, the latest year for which data is available. During the same period the overall tobacco consumption in the country has increased by 33%. This drop in legal cigarettes is reflected in the shift to the illegal cigarette and the unorganized sectors of the Industry.
Per capita consumption of Cigarettes in India amongst lowest in the World
Despite accounting for 17% of the world population, tobacco consumption in the form of Cigarettes in India is less than 2% of global consumption. However, India accounts for 84% of the world’s consumption of smokeless tobacco. India has the lowest per capita consumption of Cigarettes in the world – just 89 cigarettes per annum.
Source: The Tobacco Atlas – 6th Edition (American Cancer Society), 2018