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Mains Exam: General Studies 1,2

(Government's efforts to control Tobacco)


  • Recently, World No Tobacco Day was observed across the world.

World No Tobacco Day:

  • World No Tobacco Day is observed every year on 31 May across the world. Celebrating this day was started by the World Health Organization in the year 1987.
  • The purpose of celebrating this day is to raise global awareness about tobacco and the increasing number of deaths due to it.
  • The theme of this day in the year 2023 is “we need food, not tobacco”.

Tobacco :

  • It is a stimulant that activates the human brain adversely. According to the research so far, tobacco contains seventy types of dangerous substances like benzene, nicotine, hydrogen cyanide, aldehyde, lead, arsenic, tar and carbon monoxide etc., which have a direct negative impact on our health.

Side Effects of Tobacco:

  • Tobacco also greatly affects the heart, the guardian of the body's transport system, due to which the risk of cardiovascular diseases and heart attacks increases. The effect of tobacco is also very fatal on our brain. It also affects our imagination, mental awareness and stability, due to which lethargy and paralysis also lead to dangerous disease tremors.
  • Lungs are one of the important organs of the body that are affected by tobacco. The continuous use of tobacco reduces the functioning of our lungs. It also causes lung cancer and 'chronic obstructive pulmonary' disease. The demand for e-cigarettes in the modern technological age also indicates a serious problem to be faced in the future.
  • An e-cigarette is essentially a device that heats a liquid to create an aerosol that tobacco users use to inhale. Although research is yet to be done on this and the data is not clear, but its use by children promotes heart and lung disease in them.
  • Tobacco and its related products “It is easy to find people consuming tobacco in important Indian tourist places like Manali, Kasaul, Shimla, Rishikesh, Haridwar and Banaras.The percentage of foreign travelers in these is high and this is indicative of the weak implementation of tobacco laws here. Along with this, the black market of tobacco has reached its peak under the guise of religion. Many important tourist places of the country have also been trapped in their clutches.

Statistics related to Tobacco consumption:

  • According to a report by the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS), around 267 million youth in India, who are 15 years of age and above and constitute 29 per cent of the entire youth population, use tobacco products. This indiscriminate use of tobacco and its related products has made India the second largest tobacco consumer in the world after China (300 million).
  • According to World Health Organization (WHO) data, tobacco consumption kills about 80 lakh people every year globally, of which 13.50 lakh people die in India alone. Consumption of tobacco and its products accounts for half and one-fourth of all cancers in men and women, respectively, in India.
  • According to the National Cancer Registry of India (NCRI) data, 27 per cent of all cancer cases between 2012-16 were directly or indirectly related to tobacco.

Indian Government’s Efforts to control tobacco consumption:

  • India has taken the menace of tobacco very seriously and has taken several concrete steps for it.
  • The Tobacco Control Act was passed in the year 2001 for tobacco control in India.
  • Then in the year 2003 'Cigarette and Tobacco Products Act' was passed, which is also known as 'COTPA'.
  • Its main objective was to prohibit the advertisement of cigarettes and other tobacco products and to regulate their trade, commercial production and distribution.
  • To make people aware of tobacco at the international level, the World Health Organization passed the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in the year 2003. This agreement is mainly related to ending illegal trade of tobacco products.
  • India is a party to the convention and has also organized the COP-7, a conference of the parties to the protocol, in 2016 in Greater Noida.
  • In the context of tobacco control, this is the first collective health agreement at the international level, under which license to manufacture tobacco and its related products, fair trade and safety for equipment group etc. are included.
  • Article 13 of the Convention deals with the promotion of tobacco, Article 15 with trafficking in tobacco and Article 16 with the sale of tobacco products to and by minors.
  • In the year 2007-08, India also launched the National Tobacco Control Program (NTCP) under the Eleventh Five Year Plan, which showed some positive results.
  • In order to avoid the consumption of tobacco and to make people aware of it, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India made a rule in the year 2011 by presenting amendments to the 2009 notification of the Government of India, in which four new pictorial warnings on tobacco products is included.
  • Under this rule, it is mandatory for companies to put any one of the group of four pictures on their tobacco products.
  • A similar regulation as GHW (Graphic Health Warning) or RA No. 10643 was passed by the Philippines in July 2014.
  • Establishment of 'Tobacco Cessation Clinic' by the Indian Ministry of Health and Welfare in collaboration with WHO is an unprecedented experiment to reduce the negative effects of tobacco and its related products.
  • Such clinics help people struggling with the health consequences of tobacco to quit tobacco in a scientific way.

Way Forward :

  • Statistics show that around 69 per cent of the tobacco products consumed in India are not taxed. Black marketing, illegal trade and promotion of tobacco can also be controlled through taxes on tobacco.
  • The role of civil society can also prove to be very important for prevention of tobacco effect.
  • According to tobacco surveys in India, 80 percent of all tobacco used in the country is consumed mainly by the poor, illiterate, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. This figure exposes the government schemes being run for the all-round development of scheduled castes and tribes.
  • Provide alternative employment facilities to the people engaged in the locally run bidi industry from tendu leaves in the tribal areas by transferring them to the industry based on other wild products like honey, wood and food material under a 'Wild Product Development Programme',due to which tobacco production can be reduced in India.
  • Such an experiment could promote the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals 1, 9 and 10, respectively, such as zero poverty, industry and innovation, and the reduction of inequalities.
  • 'Tobacco Parliament and Tobacco Panchayat' can also be organized at the local level to make people aware about tobacco, like Youth Parliament and Toilet Parliament organized for defecation free.


  • India is called a country of possibilities because of the strength of youth and demographic dividend. Of the total population here, only 22 percent i.e. about 261 million youths are in the age group of 18 to 29 years, which is more than the total population of the neighboring country Pakistan. But the use of tobacco and its related products seems to be strangling India's prospects.
  • Establishment of the National Tobacco Control Helpline by the Government in the year 2003 is an important step in this direction to curb the violation of the provisions of the 'Cigarette and Tobacco Products Act'.




Mains Exam Question

Explaining the side effects of tobacco consumption and the data related to it, discuss the steps taken by the government to prevent it.