India’s health ministry and doctors call for higher taxes on tobacco

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 25 June 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g4269
  1. Ganapati Mudur
  1. 1New Delhi

India’s health ministry has asked the finance ministry to substantially raise taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products, expressing concerns over the economic burden imposed by diseases associated with tobacco and the failure of the existing tax structures to curb tobacco consumption.

The health minister, Harsh Vardhan, has requested the finance minister, Arun Jaitley, to increase taxes to 3.50 rupees per stick on all lengths of cigarettes in the budget for 2014-15 to be presented in parliament next month. The current taxes range from 0.67 rupees to 2.36 rupees.

“The tax would be applied to all lengths of cigarettes to prevent the [tobacco] industry [from] shifting production and marketing to lower length cigarettes as has been the past practice,” Vardhan wrote in an official note sent to the finance minister on 19 June.

The note follows two summary reports from the Public Health Foundation of India in …

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