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Bidi smoking costs India Rs 800 bn every year in ill health, early deaths

However, the tax revenue derived from bidi smoking came to just Rs 4.17 billion in 2016-17

IANS  |  Kochi 

Representative Image
Representative Image

costs over Rs 800 bilion in ill health and early deaths every year which is equivalent to 0.5 per cent of the goods and services (GDP) the country produces and more than two per cent of its total health spend, says a study.

Direct costs - tests, drugs, doctors' fees, hospital stays, and transport - make up around a fifth of this total with the remainder made up of indirect costs - accommodation for relatives/carers and loss of household income, showed the findings published in the journal Tobacco Control.

The findings, based on National Sample Survey data on expenditures, data on prevalence from the Global Adult Tobacco Survey and relative risks of all-cause mortality from smoking, were for the year 2017.

However, the tax revenue derived from came to just Rs 4.17 billion in 2016-17, said the study.

Nearly one in five households in faces "catastrophic expenditures" due to costs, with more than 63 million people pushed into poverty, as a result, said from in Kochi,

"associated with add to this, potentially pushing more people into poverty," he said, suggesting that about 15 million face poverty because of spending on tobacco and associated health costs.

The findings suggest that unhindered use of could push more households into poverty.

"Expenditure on tobacco also crowds out expenditure on and education in India, especially among the poor," he added.

Bidi is very popular in India, accounting for over 80 per cent of the tobacco smoked and 72 million regular users over the age of 15.

Although bidi contains less tobacco than conventional cigarettes, the nicotine content is significantly higher.

And the relatively low burn point forces smokers to breathe in more of the produced.

Bidi smoking is implicated in several types of cancer, tuberculosis, and various long term lung conditions.

But despite its impact on the nation's health, it has been taxed at a rate that is a fraction of that applied to cigarettes, John said.

First Published: Fri, December 21 2018. 13:42 IST