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75 per cent of cigarettes sold loose in India, says study

Sat, Aug 22, 2015, 01:06 PM
Shimla, Aug 22: Nearly 75 per cent of all cigarettes in India are sold as single sticks valued at close to 30 percent of the Rs.35,000 crore (over $5 billion) Indian market, an international journal says.

The sale of single cigarettes, which is not in the interest of public health, is an important factor for early experimentation, initiation and persistence of tobacco use, says the study.

"Based on the data collected from 10 jurisdictions, we estimate that nearly 75 percent (59-87 percent) of all cigarettes are sold as single sticks," says the study, published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention.

The study was conducted under the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease across 10 cities - Agartala, Baroda, Chennai, Delhi, Goa, Indore, Jaipur, Jorhat, Patna and Shimla. It recommends that the Indian government ban the sale of single cigarettes and eliminate "kiddy packs". (The ban does exist but is observed more in breach than in practice.)

"Under the tobacco control legislation in India, each tobacco product has to bear a specified pictorial health warning. But the single cigarette sales defy the overall purpose," study co-investigator Ravinder Kumar told IANS.

"The single cigarette sale is a win-win game for the tobacco industry, but not in the interest of public health," said Kumar, a consultant with the World Health Organization's tuberculosis programme and based in Shimla.

It says single or loose cigarettes also promote the sale of illicit cigarettes and neutralise the effect of pack warnings and effective taxation, making tobacco more accessible and affordable to minors.

This is the first study to have estimated the size of the country's single stick market.
Agency: IANS
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