WHO South-East Asia Journal of Public Health
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ORIGINAL RESEARCH
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 73-81

Changes in the affordability of tobacco products in India during 2007/2008 to 2017/2018: a price-relative-to-income analysis


1 World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland
2 World Health Organization Country Office for India, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Mr Mark Goodchild
World Health Organization, Geneva
Switzerland
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DOI: 10.4103/2224-3151.283001

PMID: 32341226

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Background Increasing the price of tobacco through taxation is a very effective means of reducing tobacco use. However, the impact of price increases can be diluted if consumer incomes are growing strongly. The affordability of tobacco products has, therefore, become an important indicator for tobacco control. This study asks whether tobacco products in India became more or less affordable during 2007/2008 to 2017/2018. Methods Survey data on the retail price of chewing tobacco, bidis and cigarettes were used to measure affordability at state and national levels. We adapted the price relative to income measure by calculating the percentage of net state domestic product (NSDP) per capita needed to purchase 1000 g of tobacco in each form and then calculating the average annual percentage change (AAPC) in affordability. We used ordinary least squares regression analysis to test for any changes. Results In 2017/2018, it took 1.72% and 1.18% of NSDP/capita to purchase 1000 g of tobacco in the form of bidis and chewing tobacco respectively. The affordability of bidis remained unchanged, while chewing tobacco became more affordable (AAPC = −1.83%, 95% confidence interval −2.87 to −0.80, P = 0.003). For cigarettes, it took 7.56% of NSDP/capita to purchase 1000 g of tobacco in 2017/2018; although affordability decreased in many states, national average affordability was unchanged. Conclusion Tobacco products, especially indigenous forms such as bidis and chewing tobacco, have not become measurably less affordable over the past decade. India should raise taxes on all tobacco products to significantly reduce the affordability of these products and to promote public health.


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