Staff Reporter

Decline in consumption of cigarettes and beedis after ban on smoking at public places

‘In the upper classes the smoking ban had hardly made any impact’

‘Sale of products like “gutka”, “khaini”, “zarda” and “pan masala” has shot up’

NEW DELHI: While the sale of cigarettes and beedis has fallen by about 25 per cent since implementation of the ban on smoking at public places, the sale of other tobacco products has shot up by nearly 150 per cent in metros, says a new survey.

According to a survey of 1,500 retail tobacco kiosks in different places conducted under the aegis of ASSOCHAM Social Development Foundation, sale of tobacco products like “gutka”, “khaini”, “zarda” and “pan masala” has shot up by nearly 150 per cent in metros, including many large townships across the country following the ban.The survey that was completed in two weeks by interviewing retail cigarettes and “gutka” sellers also revealed that the sale of tobacco products has “greatly increased” in cities like Delhi, Allahabad, Aligarh, Banaras, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Mumbai and Patna, said an ASSOCHAM release.

ASSOCHAM secretary general D.S. Rawat said consumption of cigarettes and beedi had declined by 25 per cent in the lower middle class and layers below it, while in the upper classes the smoking ban had “hardly made any impact”. “The smoking ban in public places appears to have had an impact on the number of smokers, with seven out of ten respondents saying they had reduced the consumption of cigarettes but at the same time increased their tobacco intake,” the statement pointed out.

About 65 per cent of respondents confessed to having twin bad habits of smoking cigarettes and beedis and eating tobacco products.

“The gap between urban and rural households in tobacco consumption is the highest in low and lower-middle income households. Urban low and lower-middle income households consume more tobacco compared with similar income groups in the rural areas,” Mr. Rawat pointed out.

Of the total amount of tobacco produced in the country, around 48 per cent is in the form of chewing tobacco, 38 per cent as beedis, and 14 per cent as cigarettes, the survey found out.