The article 'Tobacco Control Laws in India' by Ananya Kukreti is a well-researched study about the negative impact of tobacco and the active role of the laws in controlling the use of tobacco.

The article 'Tobacco Control Laws in India' by Ananya Kukreti is a well-researched study about the negative impact of tobacco and the active role of the laws in controlling the use of tobacco.

With 275 million adults using various tobacco products, tobacco use poses a serious threat to public health in India. The Indian government has launched a number of programmes to reduce tobacco use there. India was one of the first few nations to ratify the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) in 2004 in addition to passing comprehensive tobacco control laws (COTPA, 2003). The National Tobacco Control Programme, which is currently being implemented in 42 districts in 21 states across the nation, was piloted during the 11th Five-Year Plan. The Government's tobacco control measures have worked in harmony with the tobacco control advocacy of civil society and community-led initiatives. Although the states have had varying degrees of success, tobacco control is still not prioritised at the subnational level, and it is still difficult to implement tobacco control laws effectively.

There are many different varieties of tobacco, and using tobacco is a deeply rooted cultural tradition. We looked at a number of factors that influence tobacco use, such as socioeconomic position, marriage, population increase, marketing tactics, and cost. We also took into account the burden of tobacco use, which includes the financial and social expenses as well as the negative effects on health, including mouth cancer. The history of India's tobacco control laws and their implementation difficulties were then covered. Despite tobacco control laws, India's tobacco consumption is still rising. Increased public understanding of tobacco's negative effects is required, along with active workplace and health professional participation in efforts to encourage cigarette cessation.


The use of tobacco has significantly decreased in several nations over the past ten years as a result of a paradigm shift in tobacco-related policy. But almost all of these developments had a place in developed nations. Unfortunately, policies in underdeveloped nations have lagged far behind, and tobacco use there is still rising. The Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Bill of 2001 was just introduced in the Indian Parliament. This essay analyses the various legislative controls that came before this comprehensive legislation highlights tobacco usage in India and its effects, and recommends additional steps needed to successfully reduce tobacco use in India.

In India, where one-third of adults are addicted to tobacco use in various forms, tobacco usage is a major public health burden. In our society, using tobacco is deeply ingrained in cultural and even traditional behaviour. India has a number of regulations to ban smoking, but the rate of tobacco use is still rising. India is the second-biggest tobacco consumer in the world, behind China, which is the largest. Singapore has had a smoke-free environment since 1970 but lately had to strengthen it to combat tobacco usage. But the first nation to completely outlaw the sale and use of tobacco products was our neighbour Bhutan.

According to estimates, the Portuguese brought tobacco to India for the first time during the Mughal dynasty roughly 400 years ago. Although India had some locally grown strains of tobacco, the substance itself was not new there; however, these locally grown strains lost favour when new imported types from Brazil arrived. Tobacco quickly assimilated into the sociocultural landscape of various communities, particularly in the southern, eastern, and north-eastern regions of the nation, mainly as a result of the diverse cultures that were imported to India. Since tobacco is a cash crop, it quickly became known as the primary good travelling through Goa in the 17th century. But the British brought the modern cigarette to India while they were in control of the country.

Indian Tobacco Regulation

Multifaceted approaches that centre on lowering the demand for tobacco products have been successful in various regions of the world in achieving effective tobacco control. Raising taxes, publishing and disseminating information about tobacco's harmful health effects, including prominent health warning labels on products, imposing thorough advertising and promotion bans, limiting smoking in workplaces and public places, and expanding access to nicotine replacement therapies and other cessation therapies are some of these strategies.

National law is often used to implement these demand-reduction strategies. In India, state legislatures previously passed health laws, which may have been more useful. National legislation has been saved for significant situations requiring uniformity across the nation. The history of tobacco-related legislation in India is brief. The first national-level legislation was introduced not to restrict but to support the tobacco business and give it a competitive edge abroad. Early attempts to pass tobacco control laws fell short, and only recently has there been enough pressure to create a comprehensive national control strategy.

The Tobacco Board Act, which was introduced in 1975 to advance the tobacco business, is the earliest example of pro-tobacco legislation. In order to expand the Indian tobacco market and boost export competitiveness, it made it easier to regulate the growing and curing of tobacco, set minimum prices, and provided subsidies to tobacco growers. Similarly to this, the Tobacco Cess Act of 1975 was passed to raise money for the growth of the cigarette business by collecting tobacco taxes. These Acts have drawn criticism from anti-tobacco groups because they supported the tobacco industry through subsidies and lax export regulations.

The single-faceted Cigarettes Act of 1975, which required health warnings on cigarette packets and in cigarette advertisements, was India's first national anti-tobacco law. This Act mandated that the warning "Cigarette smoking is harmful to health" be printed on every packaging in the same language as the branding. Regardless of the size of the surface on which it appeared or the size of the brand name, the writing had to be at least 3 mm tall. Despite being a significant advancement in tobacco control, this Act did not cover non-cigarette tobacco products.

Several further one-sided national attempts at cigarette control were made in the years after the Cigarettes Act of 1975. For instance, the Prevention and Control of Pollution Act of 1981 added smoking to the definition of air pollution in laws pertaining to environmental preservation. Smoking and spitting in a public vehicle are prohibited by the Motor Vehicles Act of 1988. Last but not least, the Cable Television Networks Amendment Act of 2000 outlawed the broadcasting of cigarette, alcohol, and baby food advertisements on cable television nationwide.

In India, numerous state governments have implemented various forms of tobacco control legislation. This law authorised the police and medical experts to enforce it in public areas and on public transportation. It also forbade the sale of cigarettes to minors and sales within 100 metres of a school. A first-time offender is fined 100 rupees and given a legal and health informational briefing by police or medical personnel. This ambitious programme has been challenging to implement and likely hasn't had much of an impact; the main issue is a shortage of law enforcement resources.

Other states too have enacted bans on public smoking. For example, in 1999 the Kerala High Court passed a judgment prohibiting smoking in public places, including parks and highways. Similarly, Goa introduced anti-tobacco legislation in 1999. Following intense lobbying from pro-tobacco groups the final legislation was a diluted version of the original bill but did maintain an important provision that banned smoking in public places. Spitting of residues from chewing tobacco in public places was also prohibited by the legislation. In the past 12 months, the states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh have banned the marketing and sales of gutka.

The Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Bill, a comprehensive anti-tobacco law to replace the Cigarettes Act of 1975, was introduced by Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee's Union Cabinet in February 2001. The sale of tobacco to anybody under the age of 18 would be forbidden, and warnings on tobacco packets would need to be the same size as the largest text in either the local language or English. Smoking in public places would also be prohibited. The proposed national legislation would make it illegal for tobacco firms to sponsor and advertise at sporting and cultural events. Notably, this Bill covers the majority of tobacco goods, including cigarettes, cigars, bidis, cheroots, tobacco for cigarettes, pipes, hookahs, tobacco and pan masala.

Compared to the original 1975 Act, the penalties for breaking the laws under the Bill are far harsher. You could be fined up to 200 rupees ($4) for smoking in public areas including streets, parks, or government buildings in defiance of the law. Vendors who offer tobacco to minors (those under the age of 18) are subject to the same fine. A second offence carries a fine of one lakh rupees ($2,000) and up to three years in jail.

McGuire's communication Persuasion Theory

It can be tempting to use tobacco, especially for young brains. According to McGuire's communication persuasion theory, greater exposure and responsiveness may increase the possibility that a person will be persuaded and adopt the recommended behaviour. This is what 'point of sale' adverts that are shown in physical stores are doing. The inoculation idea, which McGuire also presented, explains how to stop such persuasion and develop resistance. One strategy used in the US to stop younger children from smoking because of peer pressure is the one described above.

Advertisement of Tobacco

It's not clear if all tobacco advertising and promotion fall under the definition of "advertisement." The legislation expressly forbids the display of any advertisements for tobacco goods, including those for cigarettes. The law also forbids anybody "having influence over a media" from using such medium to advertise cigarettes. These rules appear to forbid radio advertisements for tobacco products.

The Cable Television Networks Act (CTNA) and its implementing rules, which forbid direct advertising of cigarettes or other tobacco products on Indian cable networks but permit indirect advertising of such products in certain circumstances, are another means by which the government regulates cable television. We interpret the law primarily to prevent the marketing and advertising of tobacco products on domestic TV, radio, and other forms of broadcast media (e.g., satellite, and cable). However, it is unclear how the COTPA and CTNA laws, which may allow indirect advertising, should be interpreted in tandem. The drafters should use the FCTC definition of "tobacco advertising and promotion" and make it clear that COTPA expressly regulates the advertising and promotion of tobacco products in order to ensure compliance with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines.

In Newspaper: The law and the regulations for its implementation are in accordance with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines since tobacco advertising and promotion appears to be prohibited in domestic newspapers and publications. Although such advertising is illegal, we know that there are still many instances of it being published, particularly in local and dialect media. These infractions are primarily committed by makers of smokeless tobacco because they use the names of tobacco product brands to promote non-tobacco goods.

Point of sale advertising: It is specifically exempted under Section 5(2) of the COTPA 2003. Through G.S.R. 345(E), which created rigorous guidelines for the display boards used for advertising at the entrances of businesses where tobacco is sold, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare aimed to restrict this exception. The regulations set a size restriction and forbid the use of images or brand names of tobacco products. According to reports, the prohibitions in G.S.R. 345(E) are not actually enforced, and most points of sale have some advertising. Therefore, despite some limitations, point-of-sale advertising is not outright forbidden.

All tobacco advertising and promotion should be forbidden under the legislation, including at points of sale, in accordance with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines.

Effect of New Amendment in Law for Controlling Tobacco

A state's decisions can have a significant impact on its citizens. However, if done with a good aim, such as protecting the right to health, this coercion may be acceptable and beneficial. The Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) Amendment Bill 2020 has just been introduced with changes. The new Bill suggests raising the age limit on tobacco sales and consumption to twenty-one from the previous eighteen. If put into effect, it may make the sale of loose cigarettes a crime punishable by up to seven years in prison.

A heavier penalty is imposed by the 2020 Bill. But it seems sensible to argue against a sentence of up to seven years. Similar to how selling loose smokes at tiny and micro-level businesses could be disproportionate. The punishment in this instance is on par with that for negligently causing death and other serious crimes.

The Federation of Retailers' Association of India has harshly criticised the same (FRAI). Given that it doesn't completely rule out the prospect of growing black markets, it could also prove to be a catastrophic move. Small-scale stores may suffer as a result, while many businesses stand to gain from the black marketing of their own goods.


It is predicted that tobacco smoking in India will have terrible repercussions. The Indian government has just lately started to respond to the gravity of the situation and launch a legislative procedure to address this societal ailment. However, for legislation to be effective, it will need to include measures that go beyond those in the proposed Bill, like raising tariffs on all tobacco products and closing legal loopholes related to advertising. If the tobacco epidemic in India is to be contained, strong political leadership from the government and extensive public education are essential.

A deeper comprehension of political economics would be necessary for any future national comprehensive tobacco control law in India. As the world's third-largest agricultural producer of tobacco, slowing this sector down will require not only strong political resolve and ongoing dedication but also a comprehensive analysis of all the relevant parties.


[1] Prabhudesai S. Goa's tobacco lobby gets a breather as government dithers on ban, Available Here

[2] National Health Mission, Available Here

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Ananya Kukreti

Ananya Kukreti

Ananya is currently pursuing law from Amity University, Noida. She has a strong inclination towards policy research and business laws.

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