Tobacco Consumption

  • There are almost 267 million tobacco users in India.1
  • Among adults (age 15+), 28.6% of the population currently uses tobacco products (men 42.4%; women 14.2%)::1
    • 21.4% of adults use smokeless tobacco (men 29.6%; women 12.8%)
    • 10.7% of adults smoke (men 19.0%; women 2.0%)
    • The majority of adult smokers smoke bidis (7.7% of adults overall)
  • 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

  • 30.2% of adults are exposed to secondhand smoke in indoor workplaces, 7.4% are exposed in restaurants, and 13.3% are exposed 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 and exposure to secondhand smoke kill about 926,000 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

ITC Ltd—part-owned by British American Tobacco— dominates the cigarette market in India with 77% of the total sales by volume. Godfrey Phillips India follows with 9% of the market, and VST Industries accounts for 8%. Philip Morris International and Japan Tobacco hold 3% and 2% respectively. In 2016, nearly 85 billion cigarettes were sold in India. 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) 2016-2017.
2 India Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS) 2009.
3 Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2016. Seattle, WA: Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), University of Washington; 2017.
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; 2017.
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. 2018