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Tobacco Control In India Historical Overview

By Expert Author: Lotar Lowson

Tobacco Control in India Historical Overview of Tobacco in IndiaFrom the middle ages to modern timesTobacco cultivation has a history of about 8000 years. Europeans were introduced to tobaccowhen Columbus landed in America in 1492. Portuguese traders introduced tobacco in Indiaduring 1600. Tobacco’s easy assimilation into the cultural rituals of many societies was facilitatedby the medicinal (and perhaps intoxicating) properties attributed to it.
Tobacco became avaluable commodity in barter trade and its use spread rapidly.Introduced initially in India as a product to be smoked, tobacco gradually began to be usedin several other forms. Paan (betel quid) chewing became a widely prevalent form of smokelesstobacco use. Although some Chinese and European systems of medicine supported the use oftobacco, Ayurveda—the Indian system of medicine—never supported the use of tobacco asmedication. The ill effects of tobacco use on human health were recognized even in thesixteenth century, which led to restrictions on its use. Tobacco thrived everywhere in the Fig. 1 An East India Companyworld despite social (and some religious) disapproval. painting of a bibi (woman) sitting on a western chair, contentedly smoking a hookahPre-Independence periodThe following steps were taken by the government (British India) to introduce tobacco asa major crop:1787—Establishment of the Botanical Gardens at Sibpur, Calcutta (trials to grow tobaccowere conducted).1829—The government decided to promote cultivation of superior tobacco. Importedseeds were made available to the Agrihorticulture Society of Calcutta and trials on animproved variety continued for several years.1875—Attempts were made to produce Virginia tobacco at Ghazipur in Uttar Pradesh.1875—Growing and curing of tobacco continued in the Pusa farm in Bihar.1901—The British and American Tobacco Company expanded their trade into India andset up three companies, which later together became the Imperial Tobacco CompanyIndia, i.e. the present Indian Tobacco Company (ITC) Ltd.1903—The establishment of the Imperial Agricultural Research Institute and College atthe Pusa farm initiated the cultivation of a new variety of tobacco.1920—The Indian Leaf Tobacco Division (ILTD) of ITC experimented on the black soilsof Guntur, Andhra Pradesh and successfully cultivated Virginia tobacco in 1928.1929—Commercial and large-scale production of tobacco was initiated by the ILTD.
Thecompany established demonstration barns, provided technical guidance to them andencouraged local farmers to grow tobacco by providing financial assistance to constructbarns, purchase fertilizers, wood fuel, etc. Slowly, tobacco cultivation spread to all thecoastal districts of Andhra Pradesh.1933—The ILTD introduced flue-cured Virginia (FCV) tobacco into the internationalmarket.1936—A cigarette tobacco research station was established in Guntur to study the effectof soil and manure on the flavour of tobacco.1937—Tobacco cultivation was introduced in Karnataka (Mysore State) by the MysoreTobacco Company Ltd.1938—India produced 499 million kg of tobacco and ranked second in production nextto the USA (628.7 million kg). 1
5. Executive Summary 1940s—Cultivation of FCV tobacco was initiated in north Bihar (1940), Uttar Pradesh (1940) and Gujarat (1945–1946). In the first year (1943–1944), excise revenue from tobacco was Rs 9.65 crore. 1943—The government set apart an annual, non-lapsable grant of Rs 10 lakh from the proceeds of excise duty imposed to extend the cultivation of high-quality leaf and improve the production of tobacco. 1945—The Tobacco Grading Inspectorate was established at Guntur to ensure the quality control of tobacco for exports, and the Indian Central Tobacco Committee (ICTC) was set up to look after the cultivation, technical and economic aspects of tobacco cultivation in India.
(Adapted from ICTC 1960; Directorate of Tobacco Development 1997; Kori 1998; Tobacco Board 2002) Post-Independence period 1947—The Indian Central Tobacco Committee (ICTC) established the Central Tobacco Research Institute for undertaking research on cigarettes and the Lanka type of tobacco. Later, four research stations were established in Tamil Nadu (in 1948 for cigarette, cheroot and chewing tobacco), Bihar (in 1950 for hookah and chewing tobacco), West Bengal (in 1952 for wrapper and hookah tobacco) and Karnataka (in 1957 for FCV tobacco). 1956—The Tobacco Export Promotion Council (TEPC) was established to support, protect and promote the export of tobacco (see also Table 1). 1965—The ICTC was abolished. 1966—The Directorate of Tobacco Development was established to gather information on tobacco production, trade, marketing, export and consumption. 1975—The Tobacco Board was constituted under the Tobacco Act, 1975, replacing the TEPC. The Tobacco Board is responsible for regulating the cultivation, production, marketing and export of FCV tobacco. 1980–81—The Agricultural Prices Commission recommended a minimum support price for FCV tobacco grown in light and black soils. 1983—The National Cooperative Tobacco Growers’ Federation Ltd.
(TOBACCOFED) was established by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to promote the production and marketing of non-FCV tobacco in India. However, TOBACCOFED has been defunct for a long time. 1984—Auction sale of FCV tobacco was introduced for the first time by the Tobacco Board in Karnataka and in Andhra Pradesh in 1985. (Adapted from Tobacco Board 2002; Directorate of Tobacco Development 1997)Table 1 Tobacco economy in the post-Independence periodYear Area (X1000 hectare) Production Excise revenue Export revenue Tobacco consumption
Source: Top selling cigarette brands

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