Research Summary

Deciphering an epidemic of epic proportion: the role of state and tobacco industry in tobacco control in post-liberalized India

Tobacco use imposes a huge disease, economic and ecologic burden in India. About 3500 Indians die every day due to tobacco-attributable illnesses.  Despite several regulatory measures, there has been a marginal decline in tobacco use in the last two decades. In fact, since 1990s, tobacco
production and sales have increased. Therefore, this research aims to understand the role played by public policies (related to tobacco) and the tobacco industry actions historically, especially since economic/trade liberalization in India. The study is conceptualised in three phases. The phase-1 would involve mapping public policies related to tobacco in India during this period and would explore associations between the tobacco policies and the trends in tobacco production and consumption. The phase-2 is aimed at better understanding how tobacco industry actors influence tobacco policies in India as well as how governments in India respond to the industry influence including to their own varying interests in tobacco. Based on these insights, the phase-3 would focus on case studies of select Indian states (across economic and political spectrum) that present positive and negative scenarios in terms of tobacco consumption overtime. Through qualitative comparative analysis, this phase is aimed to identify different combinations of measures (public policies, tobacco industry, social/economic/political context, implementation etc.) that best explain significant reduction in tobacco use prevalence in specific state contexts in India.

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