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Information @ a Glance

Introduction

  • Nicotine is the drug in tobacco that causes addiction.
  • The pharmacologic and behavioural processes that determine tobacco addiction are similar to those that determine addiction to drugs such as heroin and cocaine.
  • Tobacco smoke contains over 4,000 different chemicals.
  • At least 50 are known carcinogens (cause cancer in humans) and many are poisonous.
  • Cigarettes are the single-most traded item on the planet, with approximately 1 trillion being sold from country to country each year. At a global take of more than $400 billion, it’s one of the world’s largest industries.

Health risk

  • Nicotine, the primary psychoactive chemical in cigarettes, is addictive.
  • Cigarette use by pregnant women has also been shown to cause birth defects (which include mental and physical disability).
  • On average, each cigarette smoked shortens lifespan by 11 minutes and half of smokers die early of tobacco-related disease and lose, on average, 14 years of life.
  • Some of the mineral apatite in Florida used to produce phosphate for U.S.A. tobacco crops contains uranium, radium, lead 210 and polonium 210 and radon.
  • The radioactive smoke from tobacco fertilized this way is deposited in lungs and releases radiation even if a smoker quits the habit.
  • The combination of carcinogenic tar and radiation in a sensitive organ such as lungs increases the risk of cancer. If the smoker also breathes in the asbestos fibers which commonly occur in urban and industrial environments, the risk of cancer is greatly increased.

Market

  • 'Extremely high' excise duty on cigarettes in India has increased the incentives for contraband trade in the country, estimated at Rs 1,700 crore, according to a Euromonitor International study.
  • The illicit cigarette market in terms of volumes has grown by 57.7 per cent during 2004 to 2009 in India, as per the study commissioned by industry body Assocham.
  • Globally, the world's top 15 countries account for some 79 per cent of global illicit cigarette consumption with China the largest (36.2 per cent), despite a 19.4 per cent fall in illicit cigarette consumption over 2004-09.
  • "In 2008, the per pack price gap between tax paid and contraband widened across all price segments. For example, a premium brand pack of 20 sticks of India Kings retailed at Rs 100, while its smuggled competitors such as Marlboro and Rothmans were available at a steep discount, selling for Rs 80-85," according to the report.

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