Q & A: Cigarette and tobacco price hike not exactly fruitful
Among all the features in the budget presented by the Modi government, one of the much appreciated moves was the increase in excise duty on cigarettes and tobacco products. Most supported the decision believing high prices would reduce consumption resulting in reduction of cancer cases. For oncologists who deal with tobacco related cancers, how was this announcement received? To find out, Anvi Mehta speaks to city based oncologist Dr Minish Jain..
Q What is the status of cancer due to nicotine products in India?
A In India, 40 per cent of the cancer cases can be attributed to the use of tobacco products like gutkhas, bidi and other chewable tobacco. Cigarettes account for 10 per cent of the cancer patients in the country. The number is increasing more in the lower age groups, especially youth in their 20's and 30's.
Q. What do you think of the price hike in cigarettes and tobacco?
A The price hike is a good initiative by the government. It is always better to see an increase in price of things which are not an integral part of a family's needs. But, this price hike will not make much of a dent on the regular smokers or tobacco users. The price raise should be 5 to 10 times more for a person to absolutely stop the regular use. In foreign countries like Australia a cigarette packet roughly costs around 1500 a packet where 60 per cent is excise duty, the same is now 250-300 a packet in India after the increase in excise duty.