Tobacco is the cause of 27% of cancers
On average, there is an increase of 10 to 15 percent in cancer patients in the country annually. From eight lakh in 2010, the number of patients crossed 13 lakh by 2020. Of these, 27 percent, or about three out of 10 patients, have been affected by cancer due to tobacco products.
According to the report of the Parliamentary Committee released last September, by 2025, more than 4.27 lakh people in the country could be affected by cancer due to these products. In such a situation, health experts in the country say that there is a need to increase the tax on tobacco products to bring this situation under control. For the last five years, the government has not increased the tax on bidi, cigarettes, gutka, or other tobacco products. Experts have also appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on social media regarding this demand.
The parliamentary committee had recommended
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare in its report submitted to the Rajya Sabha has said that there is an urgent need to discourage the consumption of tobacco and alcohol in the country. The reason for a large number of tobacco-related cancer cases in the North-East region is the high consumption of tobacco in the region. It is as high as 60 percent in the northeastern states as compared to the 28 percent prevalence of tobacco at the national level.
Bidis are very cheap in India, an average pack of bidi costs just Rs.4. The tax on this is very less. Only 9% of the retail price was averaged.
The tax on cigarettes is about 38 percent of the retail price. This rate is much lower than that recommended by the World Bank (from 65 percent to 80 percent).
Different studies suggest that a 10% increase in tobacco prices can reduce bidi consumption by 9.1% and cigarette consumption by 2.6%.