Tobacco is a huge, complex public health concern in India. It is produced, consumed and exported in various forms. India is the second largest producer of tobacco worldwide and ranks fourth in total tobacco consumption. But only 19% of the consumers are cigarette smokers, whereas 81% take it in smokeless forms.
Tobacco is easily accessible and consumed in rural India in diverse forms - smoking, chewable and snuff - like bidis, pan, flavoured powder (pan masala and gutka) and hookah etc. It is closely related with rituals and social status. Women, children and adolescents also form a large part of both active and passive tobacco users. Smoking is expected to cause 10 lakh deaths per year in India by 2010. The Indian Government has armed itself with a very comprehensive Tobacco Control Act, i.e., COTPA 2003 and has been taking proactive steps in enforcing the legislation. It is the responsibility of civil society organizations to join hands with the Government in the endeavour to eradicate this deadly epidemic from the country.