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In India, nearly 29% of adults (over 42% of men and 14% of women) aged 15 or above use tobacco daily or occasionally.1 Out of 100 million smokers, nearly 40 million smoke cigarettes. ITC (British American Tobacco’s India affiliate) dominates the Indian-manufactured cigarette market with 77% market share,2 while Godfrey Phillips India (Phillip Morris International’s India affiliate) controls 13% of the market.3 In terms of volume, however, bidi (also beedi, a forest tree leaf hand-rolled indigenous cigarillo using sun-cured flaked tobacco) dominates the smoking landscape. In 2014, it is estimated that nearly 550 billion4 bidis were made by women and children in the poorest parts of India.5
In addition, nearly 200 million adults use smokeless tobacco (SLT).1 SLT is the most widely consumed tobacco product in the country that is homemade, largely unregulated, untaxed and sold locally. About 30% of the SLT market consists of commercially manufactured products, where Dharampal Satyapal Group (DS Group) enjoys a large market share.6
Historically, the Indian tobacco industry has spent large sums in aggressively marketing and advertising its products.7 With the coming into force of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003 (COTPA), however, all forms of direct and indirect tobacco advertising were prohibited in India.8 In particular, section 5, clause 3, subclause (b) of COTPA prescribed that:
No person, shall, under a contract or otherwise promote or agree to promote the use or consumption of…(b) any trade mark or brand name of cigarettes or any other tobacco product in exchange for a sponsorship, gift, prize or scholarship given or agreed to be given by another person.8
Article 13 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC)9 considers corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities to be a form of tobacco advertising and recommends its …
Contributors AY and PL had the idea for this communication. AY and PL drafted the manuscript. AY and RS collated the data. AP and RJS critically reviewed different versions of the manuscript. AY and PL contributed to the revisions and final manuscript in its present form.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.
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