Tobacco Consumption

  • There are almost 275 million tobacco users in India.1
  • Among adults (age 15+), over one third (34.6%) of the population currently uses tobacco products:1
    • 47.9% of men and 20.3% of women use some form of tobacco
    • 14.0% of adults smoke, while 25.9% use smokeless tobacco
    • 9.2% of all adults—about two thirds of adult smokers—use bidis
  • Among youth (ages 13-15):2
    • 14.6% currently use some form of tobacco (boys 19.0%; girls 8.3%)
    • 4.4% smoke cigarettes and 12.5% use other tobacco products

Secondhand Smoke Exposure

  • 29.9% of adults are exposed to secondhand smoke in indoor workplaces, 11.3% in restaurants, and 17.5% in public transportation.1
  • 36.6% of youth (ages 13-15) are exposed to secondhand smoke in public places, and 21.9% are exposed at home.2

Health Consequences

  • Each year tobacco use kills about one million Indians:
    • Smoking kills up to 950,000 people each year3
    • Smokeless tobacco use kills an additional 200,000 people in India each year, accounting for 74% of the global burden of smokeless tobacco4
  • Bidi and cigarette smokers die 6 to 10 years earlier than their non-smoking counterparts.5
  • If current trends continue tobacco will account for 13% of all deaths by 2020.6

Tobacco Industry

Domestic companies dominate the cigarette market, holding a combined market volume share of over 93%. ITC Ltd leads substantially with 77% of the total cigarette market, followed by Godfrey Phillips India with 9%, and VST Industries with 8%. Philip Morris International and Japan Tobacco hold 3% and 2% respectively. In 2015, over 88 billion cigarettes were sold in India. The illicit cigarette trade is a growing problem and accounted for approximately 21% of total sales (legal and illegal) in 2015.7

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.8

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) 2009-2010.
2 India Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS) 2009.
3 Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2013. Seattle, WA: Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), University of Washington; 2015.
4 Siddiqi K et al. Global burden of disease due to smokeless tobacco consumption in adults: analysis of data from 113 countries. BMC Medicine. 2015;13(194).
5 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.
6 Shimkhada R, Peabody JW. Tobacco Control in India. Bulletin of the World Health Organization. 2003;81:48-52.
7 Euromonitor International; 2016.
8 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 Jan. 2017