Tag Archives: India

Tobacco use in India drops from 34 to 28 percent

Good news from India (and I’m hoping I have some readers from India who will be interested to read this.)

According to figures from the Global Adult Tobacco Survey, the rate of adult tobacco use in India has dropped from 34.6 percent to 28.6 percent from 2009-10 to 2016-17.

That’s roughly a 17 percent drop in seven years. That translates into 81 bakh fewer tobacco users in India in seven years (8.1 million).

That includes smokeless tobacco, bidis, cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Perhaps one big reason, according to the Financial Express, an Indian website, is the average cost of smokeless tobacco, bidis and cigarettes has gone up since 2009.

From the Financial Express:

The expenditure on cigarette has tripled and that on bidi and smokeless tobacco has doubled since GATS-1, the report pointed out.

Also, the Financial Express explains what the Global Adult Tobacco Survey is:

The GATS is a global standard for systematically monitoring adult tobacco use and tracking key tobacco control indicators. It was a household survey of persons aged 15 and above and was conducted in all states and two Union Territories. The first round of GATS was conducted in 2009-10. The second round of GATS was conducted in 2016-2017 by Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. The survey was conducted under the stewardship of the Ministry of Health and technical assistance was provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

This is really important news because Big Tobacco is relying heavily on increasing its presence in developing nations such as India and Indonesia (the smoking rate in Indonesia is insane). Smoking is dying out in the West because of better education about the dangers of tobacco, so Big Tobacco is pouring more of its resources during the past several years into India, Southeast Asia, Africa and South America, places that tend to have low cigarette taxes and lax rules on tobacco marketing. They would go after China, too, but the Chinese have been pretty aggressive about maintaining state control of its tobacco industry.

 

 

Tobacco use dropping in India

Great news, cigarette smoking in India has dropped dramatically in just one year because of that country’s new tough stance against tobacco.

According to this story from the Daily News and Analysis of India, the smoking rate among men has dropped from 57 percent in 2006 to 44.8 percent in 2016. That’s still a really high smoking rate, but that represents a 21 percent drop in 10 years.

Among women, the smoking rate has dropped from 10.8 percent to 6.8 percent during that same time period.

From the Daily News and Analysis:

“The NFHS 4 results offer some hope. I attribute this reduction to mainly to gutka ban and partly to increased awareness,” said Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, Oncologist, Tata Memorial Hospital. The National Family Health Survey 2015-16 (NFHS-4), the fourth in the NFHS series, provides information on population, health and nutrition for India and each State and Union territory.

“The reduction in consumption is due to the tobacco control laws that the Government is implementing over the years and steps taken like 85 percent graphic health warnings, Smoke Free Rules and Gutka Ban,” Bhavna Mukhopadhyay, Chief Executive Voluntary Health Association of India, said.

“The government needs to implement evidence based tobacco control policies to reduce further tobacco consumption as (1 million) people die due to tobacco use every year (in India). There is also an urgent need for higher tobacco taxes, as taxes in India are very low particularly the beedis and hope in the new GST regime, this will be addressed,” Mukhopadhyay said.

An Indian anti-smoking ad

While the Indian smoking rate for men is still astonishingly high, the drop in smoking in India is important because as smoking rates have utterly collapsed in the West, Big Tobacco is looking increasingly at overseas markets to make up for the shrinking markets in North America and Europe. India with its 1 billion-plus people is absolutely in the crosshairs as the biggest potential market in the world (since China’s market is 99 percent state controlled).

Smoking has even become controversial in Bollywood

Not only has smoking cigarettes all but been eliminated in Hollywood films, it’s also controversial in Bollywood.

Hollywood had a long and sordid history with smoking. Directors had their characters constantly smoke in movies beginning in the 1930s and Hollywood played a HUGE role in defining cigarettes as cool and hip.

About 20 years ago, people started becoming really alarmed by this, especially when it was revealed that beginning with Superman (yeah, Superman, the 70s film … you know, the one aimed at kids), the tobacco industry started paying Hollywood studios millions to place their products in kids’ movies.

Even after the tobacco payments were exposed and stopped by the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement, Hollywood continued including smoking in PG and PG-13 films … again, long after they were getting a dime from the tobacco industry (as far as anyone knew). It was like running on inertia. Hollywood was stuck in this time warp believing that smoking made you (and your character) look cool.

Anyway, about three or four years ago, the MPAA finally decided to add smoking to what makes film R-rated. Studios hate R-rated movies because they’re hard to market to families, so that effectively killed the chronic smoking in Hollywood movies.

Anyway, India has this strange rule requiring an anti-smoking message be shown on the screen if a character lights a cigarette. One director, Anurag Kashyap, is fighting this requirement for his newest film, taking the case to high court of Bombay. Woody Allen also recently pulled his latest movie, “Jasmine,” to protest the requirement.

(Funny anti-smoking ad from India)

“Such unreasonable conditions clearly fetter the rights of filmmakers to free speech and expression enshrined by the Constitution of India,” said Kashyap’s petition, according to a statement from his publicist. “Running a scroll not only destroys the aesthetic value of cinema but also diverts viewers from the film,” he added.

I dunno, this is a strange way to deal with the problem.