A tobacco epidemic in India could be killing up to 1.5 million by the end of the decade, a new report has claimed.
The International Tobacco Control Project (ITCP) said the issue required “urgent attention” and called for India to properly implement anti-tobacco laws.
The report said nearly one-in-four of India 1.2-billion population uses tobacco.
The most common is the so-called smokeless tobacco, which includes chewing products gutkha, zarda, paan masal and khaini.
ITCP added tobacco accounts for nearly half of male cancers in India, and a quarter of female ones.
Geoffrey Fong, a professor of psychology at Canada’s University of Waterloo and co-author of the report, said: “Compared with many countries around the world, India has been proactive in introducing tobacco control legislation since 2003.
“The legislation currently in place is not delivering the desired results, in terms of dissuading tobacco use and encouraging quitting.”
The report said by 2020 tobacco consumption will account for more than 1.5-million Indian deaths a year.
Globally the number of deaths caused by tobacco is expected to rise from around six million-a-year now to more than eight million by 2030, according to the World Health Organisation.