Background and Context: Nearly 35% adults use tobacco in India and more than one million deaths annually are attributed to smoking alone. Tobacco use also contributes to approximately 60% of all CVD deaths and 42% and 18% of cancer deaths among men and women respectively while an estimated loss of US $ 22.4 billion was incurred in 2011 on the treatment of diseases attributable to tobacco use.
Tobacco control measures have been the subject of litigation in Indian courts over the last decade. In this context, unlike Australia, the existence of legal barriers have been perceived as a threat to the realization of the aspirational goal of plain packaging of tobacco products in India. As the existing literature on the subject is limited to Australian experience and its impact, it is important to understand the extent to which the Australian experience may be replicated in India.
Aim:This study examines the existing legislative, judicial and administrative frameworks in India for its feasibility to withstand introduction of plain packaging of tobacco products in the country.
Strategy/Tactics:a) A review of the existing constitutional and legal framework have been undertaken and b) deliberations with the expert groups held in the first phase of the project will be carried forward to get multi-stakeholder buy-in.
Programme/Policy Process: A comprehensive literature review was conducted using online legal database and grey literatures on plain packaging. International experiences including challenges and progress are also being captured. A preliminary analysis from the study have been presented in the form of a policy brief to the key stakeholders including, parliamentarians, policy makers to sensitise them on the issue.
Outcomes/What was learned: Given the industry response in Australia, the Indian Parliament must amend the Indian tobacco control law within the given constitutional framework to introduce plain packaging.