As per the findings of the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS), conducted by Ministry of Health andFamily Welfare (2010), 20.3% of females in the age group of 15 years and above consume tobacco in some form or other. The use of smokeless forms of tobacco is more prevalent (18.4%) among females than smoking forms (2.9%).
A number of steps have been taken by the Government to discourage tobacco use both among males and females, which include as the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibitions of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act," (COTPA), was enacted in 2003 to regulate consumption, production, supply and distribution of tobacco products, by imposing restrictions on advertisement, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco products; prohibiting smoking in public places; prohibiting sale to and by minors, prohibiting sale within a radius of 100 yards of educational institutions and through mandatory depiction of specified pictorial health warnings on all tobacco product packs.
Again Government of India launched the National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP) in the year 2007-08, with the aim to (i) create awareness about the harmful effects of tobacco consumption, (ii) reduce the production and supply of tobacco products, (iii) ensure effective implementation of the provisions under “The Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003” (COTPA) and (iv) help the people quit tobacco use through Tobacco Cessation Centres.
The coverage of National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP) has been up-scaled from existing 42 districts of 21 states to 53 districts of 29 states in 2013-2014 under the umbrella of National Health Mission (NHM).
National Level Public Awareness campaign is a key activity under National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP) which is aimed at educating people about the adverse health effects of tobacco use including second hand smoke and on pregnant women. A variety of media like electronic (Government and private Channels and FM/radio), outdoor billboards, bus panels, exterior train wrap-up, news-paper advertisement etc. have been used to reach a wide set of audience.
Health spots relating to harmful effects of tobacco use are displayed by films and TV Programmes displaying tobacco products or their use, as per the Rules notified under COTPA, 2003.
Gutkha and other similar food products containing nicotine and tobacco have been prohibited under the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restrictions on Sales) Regulations, 2011 dated 1st August 2011, issued under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
The Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare has written to all the Chief Ministers to consider adopting a ‘Comprehensive Taxation Policy’ for all tobacco products so that they are taxed at similar rates and incentive to shift to relatively cheaper tobacco products is minimized.
Further , Secretary, Department of Health & Family Welfare has vide letter dated 26th June, 2014 written to Secretary (Revenue) to adopt a ‘Comprehensive Tax Policy’ for tobacco products in the broader public health interest and with a view to protecting youth and children from getting addicted to tobacco use.
The Health Minister stated this in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha.