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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 51  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 8-12

Taxation of smokeless tobacco in India

1 Health Economics, Indian Institute of Public Health (IIPH) Bhubaneswar, India
2 Health Promotion and Tobacco Control Division, Public Health Foundation of India, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
S K Rout
Health Economics, Indian Institute of Public Health (IIPH) Bhubaneswar
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-509X.147420

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Background: The role of fiscal policy, especially taxation, though has been proved to be an effective instrument of tobacco control, its application is limited in India due to several reasons. This paper examines the tax structure, price and affordability of SLT products in order to provide evidence on how to strengthen the role of fiscal policy in tobacco control. Method: Secondary data on tax structure and revenue from tobacco products were collected from the Ministry of Finance, Government of India. In order to measure the rise of prices corresponding to the increase in tax rate, the retail price index (RPI) and Whole Price Index (WPI) of SLT products were compared with the price index for all commodities for the period 2006-2012. The affordability of tobacco products is calculated by dividing prices of tobacco products by per capita income. Results: During the last 6 years, the tax rate on SLT has gone up leading to a rise in the prices of SLT products more than the general price rise. However, the price rise is less than the per capita income growth indicating increasing affordability. The study observed a decline in the consumption of zarda and kahini due to the price increase during 2008-2013. However, the decline in the consumption of zarda is less compared with khaini due to a very low rise in its price. Conclusion: The prices should be raised more than the growth in income to influence consumption. Tax administration is a major challenge for SLT products and strengthening it could enhance revenue collection from SLT products.


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