The Price of Smoking a Bidi


Worker smoking bidi India is the third largest consumer of tobacco in the world. Its not cigarettes that majority of Indians prefer but bidis, which constitute 70% of the tobacco smoked.

Bidis are more harmful then cigarettes, as they give more toxins like carbon monoxide, ammonia, phenol and hydrogen cyanide and contains more tar and nicotine than conventional cigarettes. So it causes more damage to the body then a cigarette.

Less tax on Bidis, more deaths

Smoking bidi is a growing menace in India with 100 million people smoking bidis, and 6 lakh deaths caused every year. The younger generation try bidi under the belief that its less harmful, since its cheap and has no warning label. Many a times, tobacco used in bidis may be mixed with flavors such as chocolate, vanilla, clove or pineapple to make them attractive to youth.

Bidis are smoked primarily by men, especially in rural areas, and are rolled by women, often in their homes. Since it provides large-scale employment, bidis are under-taxed compared to cigarettes.

A roller can make about 1,000 bidis a day and is paid Rs 40 to Rs 80 for the day’s work. But 10% of all female bidi workers and 5% of all male bidi workers are children under 14, and nearly 50% of these workers ultimately die of tuberculosis or asthma.

Tax on bidis are currently just one-twelfth of the tax levied on non-filter micro cigarettes (purchased by the poor) and just 2% of the tax on more expensive standard filters cigarettes.

But if the price of a pack of bidis was doubled from about Rs 4 to Rs 8, or if the excise duty was at par with other tobacco products it can reduce the consumption of tobacco.

Anti-smoking Advertisement


An interesting and funny ad on anti-smoking featuring an old man who offers his seat to a smoker because smokers lose 7 to 11 minutes of their life with each smoke.

Impact of Surrogate Advertisements on Children


Child Tobacco
Each day 55,000 children in India start using tobacco, Gutkha the chewable tobacco is aimed at the younger generation of the country. But you may wonder how do these companies manage to reach the minds of this children when they are not allowed to advertise these products.

After the ban the companies opened their doors to surrogate advertisement, an advertisement has the logo or brand of another company advertised within it. Lets take a look at this report done by a french channel on surrogate advertisements done in India.

One of the biggest surrogate advertisement market is the film Industry Bollywood, in 2004 and 2005, 89% of all the released movies had smoking scenes in them. Below is a small documentary on smoking in movies, with interesting statistics on the current scenario in India with regards to smoking.

According to research done by the Salaam Bombay Foundation, 3260 children between the age of 12 to 17 years fro municipal and private schools were asked to fill out a self-administered questionnaire.

When asked to recall slogans of any tobacco company or brand…

  • 71% recalled Manikchand – Oonche log, oonchi pasand

  • 12% recalled Goa – Yahan bhi Khilate hain, whan bhi, Goa No 1

  • 2% recalled Sanket

  • 0.4% recalled Shimla

  • 15% recalled other brands

When asked to associate slogans with brands 63% could associate the slogan while 37% could not. What kind of a message will a child get from, Oonche log, oonchi pasand

Some of the observations learnt through this research is that, Gutkha advertising has had a deep impact on the minds of children although it has been banned since August 2002.

As children cannot easily disassociate Manikchand Water from Manikchand Gutkha, tobacco manufacturing companies should not be allowed to use surrogate advertisements. TV and radio are the hotspots as to where these messages are broadcasted to the children, the future of our country!

Image Source:

Cartoon by Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi

The Effect of Cigarettes on the Human Body


What can one cigarette do to your body? What can a pack of cigarettes do to your body? The video below will throw some light on the impact of smoking on the human body.

Smoking, a Risky Habit for Women


Harmful effects of smoking in Women Women smoking in India has become more of a trend, with an alarming rise of about 18% in the number of women smokers.

The reasons may differ as to why women take up smoking, but the effects are the same or even worse as compared to men.

We know that smoking can lead to lung cancer and heart diseases. But being a woman we need to be aware of the numerous health risks of smoking tobacco that can be unique only to us.

Effects of Smoking in Women

  • There is increased risk of various cancers like lung, mouth, larynx (voice box), pharynx (throat), esophagus, kidney, pancreas, cervical, and bladder. One study found 80% greater risk of developing cervical cancer in smokers.

  • Women smoking in India
  • Smoking causes more breathing difficulties in women than in men. In India, betel chewing is a common practice among rural women, which leads to respiratory problems.

  • Female smokers are more susceptible to osteoporosis, when bones become brittle and are prone to fracture. The condition is terrible because it reduces the bone density and its very painful.

  • If a woman has started to smoke at an early age then she develops a risk of early menopause. Smokers can notice the symptoms of menopause 2-3 years before nonsmokers.

  • Menstrual problems such as abnormal bleeding, amenorrhea (absence of periods), and vaginal discharges or infections are common complaints among women who smoke.

  • If having a baby is part of your future plan then you should think of quitting now. The toxins in the cigarette smoke can kill the eggs while they are still in your ovaries. Smoking during pregnancy is a big no, you will be just risking the life of your infant, and it can lead to complications - delivering a pre-mature baby, impairing the child's long-term growth and intellectual development to name a few.

  • Last but not the least, smoking affects your appearance. Your skin will age prematurely, because the oxygen gets displaced by carbon monoxide in your body. This is basically starving your cells of the oxygen it needs. Some studies suggest that it also increases the rick of developing the most common forms of skin cancer.

Xtinguisher Flick the Smokers


While traveling in Mumbai you see so many people chucking butts out of taxis or cars, not bothered as to where it lands. Personally I have had ash hitting my eye while I was riding my bike when a hand stretched out of the taxi and ashed a cigarette.

Its good fun to let out the frustration with an anti-smoking game like this. People pop up with cigarettes in their mouth and their ash is falling on you. Use the mouse to aim snd click to flick the smokers.

You lose energy if the ash touches you, the more smokers you flick the more points you earn. When you reach ten thousand points you progress to the next level. As you level up the game play speeds up, do enjoy flicking the smokers!

Cigarette Sniper


Its frustrating to see people smoking in Public places even with the ban. What can be done to stop these people from lighting up! Its time for you to take up the mission to make public places smoke free.

You are armed with a water pistol to extinguish the cancer sticks. Carefully aim the tip of the cigarettes because you have a limited amount of water. You have to be fast enough so you do not run out of time. But you need to find the hidden cigarettes as well, good luck!

Tobacco More Addictive then Heroin, Cocaine


Smoking is second leading cause of death With increasing number of people leading fast-paced and stressful lives, getting addicted to something that makes you feel good for a moment could be easy. But only later on do you realise the ill-effects of that addiction. We know that tobacco can make us more susceptible to diseases like cancer, but we still pick up the habit, perhaps due to cleverly marketed strategies?

The good feelings that result when an addictive drug is present, and the bad feelings when it's absent, make breaking any addiction very difficult. Smoking is a common addiction, because it leads to changes in the brain that make people want to use it more and more.

Historically, nicotine addiction has been one of the hardest addictions to break. In fact nicotine is not only as addictive as alcohol, tea and coffee, but even more addictive then psychoactive drugs like heroin and cocaine.

As a result tobacco addiction is the second-leading cause of death in the world. Nicotine meets the criteria of a potent psychoactive drug, as you can see in the image below. Depending on nicotine at various levels, leads to addiction.
Tobacco addiction
Nicotine induces euphoria, serves as a reinforcer of its use, and leads to nicotine withdrawal syndrome when it is absent. Nicotine acts a stimulant and also a depressant.

The association between depression and smoking is well-known, many times the decreased ability to quit smoking can lead the person into depression. Relapse rates of major depression are higher after smoking cessation.

What are the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal?

  • Irritability

  • Impatience

  • Hostility

  • Anxiety

  • Depressed mood

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Restlessness

  • Decreased heart rate

  • Increased appetite or weight gain

Quitting an addiction might sound difficult, but if you want to lead a happy life without the intake, then the time is now, tomorrow may be too late!

Positive Effects of Quitting Now!


About 14th WCTOH 2009


The World Conference on Tobacco or Health (WCTOH) is slated to take place in Mumbai at NCPA from March 8th to 12th, 2009. The theme of the conference is 'Tobacco Control: The Way Forward; Multisectoral Approach to Tobacco Control Policies, Pathways, Partners and People.'

Since it will be a gathering of different tobacco control advocates, educators, policymakers, regulators, civil society members, renowned scientists and scholars from around the world, WCTOH gives an ideal opportunity to interact and advance initiatives related to tobacco control and consequent improvement of health.

At present, India faces daunting challenges, since

  • It is the second largest producer and consumer of tobacco. (More than 240 million adult tobacco users and an alarming uptake among children. With another child in India initiating tobacco use every 2 seconds)

  • It has the widest spectrum of tobacco products in the market, and its yearly tobacco death toll is now at 700,000 and rising. In the forefront of the epidemic is China, the largest producer and consumer of tobacco.

WCTOH is being held in a developing nation after 12 years, and incidentally there are also many countries in Asia that need high priority action in tobacco control. So the conference will not only provide a global perspective on tobacco control issues, but also accelerate efforts in tobacco control.

Over 2500 delegates from more than 100 countries are expected to attend. On the agenda is panel discussions, exhibitions, pre-conference programs and workshops.

Host organizations:
Salaam Bombay Foundation
Healis - Sekhsaria Institute for Public Health
Action Council against Tobacco-India

Supported by:
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare –Government of India
Government of Maharashtra

You can find more information on the conference's official site - 14th WCTOH in Mumbai

About Healis


Healis Sekhsaria Institute for Public Health has a wealth of experience in epidemiologic research and has published numerous seminal research results in international scientific journals.

The institute has several ongoing research projects in international collaborations with prominent institutions. To name a few: Arnold school of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston; Office on Smoking and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Atlanta; International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France; Center for Global Health Research, University of Toronto, and the Clinical Trials Research Unit, University of Oxford

For more information, please visit Healis



ACT-INDIA The 14th WCTOH is being hosted by Action Council against Tobacco - India (ACT- INDIA) along with Salaam Bombay Foundationand HEALIS Sekhsaria Institute for Public Health.

Established in 1993, ACT - India is a registered NGO whose objective is to create a 'Tobacco Free Society' in India by preventing non-users of tobacco particularly adolescents from getting addicted to tobacco. It also aims to stop the use of tobacco among those who have the habit.

The organization has undertaken numerous activities at the local and national level to further these objectives. Some of these initiatives are programs on Public Information and education, advocacy and lobbying with policy makers for increased taxation and strong legislative controls for tobacco, conducting workshops for training and developing large number of tobacco control advocates in India.

Apart from these, they also provide scientific support to individuals and organizations that fight the tobacco menace. For more information, please visit ACT - INDIA

About Salaam Bombay Foundation


Salaam Bombay FoundationSalaam Bombay Foundation is an NGO that works with children on issues related to tobacco abuse. Their main aim is to eliminate the threat of tobacco for all children by empowering them to become confident individuals.

Every day, more than 55,000 children in India below the age of 15 are estimated to try tobacco for the first time. While five million Indian children are said to be addicted to tobacco and one third of them are likely to die due to this addiction.

The Foundation believes that educating children is the most enduring way of shaping the future of the country. When children have access to correct information they can make informed decisions to deal with everyday situations.

Salaam Bombay Foundation's activities are focused on creative processes and sports and hence, they encourage children to think in an out-of-the-classroom format. The programmes are engaging and interactive, and difficult messages are conveyed in a non-threatening and child-friendly manner.

Salaam Bombay Foundation is active in 75 Government aided schools in Mumbai and is also working in through the Rural Outreach Programme in Chandrapur and Thane districts. It has reached over 5 lakh children since 2002.

About India Matters


Its time for a change, its time to get heard. The 14th World Conference on Tobacco or Health is coming to India for the first time, to address the tobacco-related issues in a country, which is the third largest producer and consumer of tobacco in the world.

At the same time there are over millions who don't support tobacco usage and they have an opinion about it but don't find a right medium to voice it. India Matters gives you the platform to voice your views on tobacco usage, because it matters to us, it matters to the world.

Salaam Bombay Foundation has played a pivotal role in spreading awareness about tobacco control and is proud to be associated with this Movement. We want India’s voice against tobacco to be heard on this global platform, directly reaching out about 2500 participants from over 114 countries.

Be a part of this fight against tobacco. Your opinion counts, India Matters!

What's your Say on Tobacco?


Welcome to India Matters, over 55,000 children use tobacco each day in India. While five million Indian children are said to be addicted to tobacco and one third of them are likely to die due to this addiction.

Every 2 out of 5 cancer cases in India are due to tobacco and nearly 2000 Indians die due to cancer each day. More than 5 million children in India are addicted to gutkha. What is your say on this?

For the first time the 14th World Conference on Tobacco or Health is being held in India from March 8th to 12th, 2009, where the policy makers will meet to discuss the future policies. Isn't it time that we did something? Salaam Bombay Foundation, an NGO that helps children kick their nicotine addiction, is going to put forward your opinion to the policy makers. Its Time for you to make a difference!