Current Tobacco Use:





1.3 billion

Adult Tobacco Users:

266.8 million

Annual Deaths Due to Tobacco:



Monitor tobacco use and prevention policies

Data are necessary to implement and evaluate effective tobacco control policies. The Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) is a global standard for systematically monitoring adult tobacco use (smoking and smokeless) and tracking key tobacco control indicators.

GATS India 2009-10 was conducted by the International Institute for Population Sciences, Mumbai on behalf of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. GATS India 2016-17 was conducted by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (Mumbai) on behalf of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.

Adult tobacco use decreased

GATS India 2009-10 and 2016-17

*Comparisons are significant at p<.05; Difference is larger than can be reasonably explained by chance and therefore reflects a true difference.

The findings from GATS show that India has improved on several key tobacco control measures, yet almost 30 percent of adults still use tobacco in India.

Protect people from tobacco smoke

There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. The sole intervention that can fully protect people from the health dangers of secondhand smoke is creating environments that are completely smoke-free without any exceptions.

“What Damage Will This Cigarette/Bidi Do” Campaign

According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey Round 2 in 2016-17, more than 90 percent of current adult smokers in India are aware that smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke causes serious illness.

To reinforce this message, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India launched a national smoking cessation campaign in June 2018. The public service announcement prompts smokers to think about each cigarette or bidi as the path to one of many potential harmful events: heart attacks, cancer, lung disease and more.

Adults exposed to secondhand smoke in the home decreased significantly from 52.3% in 2010 to 38.7% in 2017.
This [What Damage Will This Cigarette/Bidi Do] campaign graphically shows the specific, proven harms of tobacco smoke, prompting smokers to think about making the healthy choice to quit.
- Dr. Nandita Murukutla, Vice President, Global Policy and Research, Vital Strategies

Offer help to quit tobacco use

When informed of the risks, most tobacco users want to quit, but few get help and support to overcome their dependence. There are several evidence-based supports that can increase the chance to quit successfully.

mTobaccoCessation Programme

India launched a national bilingual mTobaccoCessation programme in 2016. This program uses mobile technology by providing personalized tobacco cessation advice to tobacco users.

Since the launch, over 2 million tobacco users have enrolled. A Ministry of Health and Family Welfare evaluation at the end of the program's first year, covering a sample of more than 12,000 registered users, demonstrated an average quit rate of about 7 percent among both smokers and smokeless tobacco users 6 months after enrollment.


Quit attempts among smokers and smokeless tobacco users increased

GATS India 2009-10 and 2016-17

*Comparisons are significant at p<.05; Difference is larger than can be reasonably explained by chance and therefore reflects a true difference.


Warn about the dangers of tobacco

Effective health warning labels provide health messages directly to tobacco users, which raises awareness of their health risks and increase the likelihood that they will reduce tobacco use or quit altogether.

Health Warning Labels Increased in Size

In April 2016, the government of India implemented a new regulation mandating tobacco companies to display large pictorial health warning labels occupying 85 percent of the principal display area of tobacco packs. The pack warnings graphically depict the hazards of tobacco use.

Before Regulation
Collection date: Oct 2013
After Regulation
Collection date: Dec 2016
Adult cigarette smokers who thought about quitting because of health warning labels increased significantly from 28.0% in 2010 to 61.9% in 2017.

Enforce bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship

Tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship (TAPS) increase tobacco use. Comprehensive TAPS bans have shown to reduce tobacco consumption. ​

India's Film Rule

Since 2012, India has required films depicting smoking to be accompanied by government-produced anti-tobacco announcements and a static health warning at the bottom of the screen, visible for the duration of the depiction of a tobacco product or its use. In addition the Rule requires producers to provide an acceptable editorial justification for the display of tobacco products or their use upon application for a film-rating certificate. An audio-visual disclaimer, explicitly mentioning the ill effects of tobacco use, must also appear at the beginning and in the middle of the film or television program.


Adults who noticed smoking tobacco advertisements

-GATS India 2016-17


Tobacco advertising through most forms of mass media are prohibited in India.

Raise taxes on tobacco

The most effective way to reduce tobacco use and encourage tobacco users to quit is to raise taxes to increase the price of tobacco products.

India Increases Tax on Tobacco Products

In 2014, India increased the excise duty on cigarette, cigars, cheroots and cigarillos in the range of 11 percent to 72 percent. These heavy duties aim to improve the well-being of Indians, especially youth and women, who are targeted by tobacco marketing.

The World Health Organization estimates that these policy changes could result in a five percent reduction of cigarette consumption, with the greatest change among low- and middle-income smokers.

​Additionally, in 2017 the Goods and Services Tax was introduced to simplify the tobacco tax system in India and to avoid opportunities for tax avoidance.


Average monthly expenditure on cigarettes and bidis

GATS India 2016-17


View the full GATS India reports: