Project and Country Background

Browse packs from India

India has a population of 1.3 billion people; 14.0 percent of adults and 14.6 of youth population smoke tobacco products.1 An estimated 750,000 people die in India each year from diseases caused by smoking.2

TPackSS worked with in-country collaborators to purchase cigarettes and bidis in three major cities: Mumbai, New Delhi and Chennai. Within each city, packs were collected from a sample of 12 economically and socially diverse neighborhoods. Data collectors purchased one of every unique cigarette and bidi pack available from vendors randomly selected in each neighborhood. From October 16 to October 26, 2013, data collectors purchased 169 cigarette and bidi packs. Then from November 14 to December 19, 2016, data collectors visited the same three cities plus Bengaluru and purchased 95 unique cigarette packs.

The tobacco packaging and labeling requirements in effect at the time of data collection were used to assess each tobacco pack’s compliance with the requirements.  

Suggested Citation for Information on this Page: Tobacco Pack Surveillance System (TPackSS). India: Project and Country Background. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. [Insert Last Updated Date].

Packaging and Labeling Requirements Summary

Data collection dates Type of warning Warning label size and layout Number of warnings to be displayed Rotation Rules for misleading descriptors Other requirements

Oct. 16 to Oct. 26, 2013

[169 unique packs collected]

Pictures and Text

40% of front


All labels displayed concurrently and are intended to be changed every 2 years


Warnings may not be placed where they may be concealed or damaged when opening the package or by tax stamps or other required markings

Nov. 14 to Dec. 19, 2016

[95 unique cigarette packs collected]

Pictures and Text

85% of front, 85% of back


One label displayed and intended to be changed every year



Tobacco packaging and labeling in India is regulated under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA). COTPA was passed in 2003 and updated in 2008 with the Packaging and Labeling Rules, which established standards for health warning labels. Graphic health warnings were established in 2011 and a new round of graphic health warnings came into effect on April 1, 2013. G.S.R. 727(E) announce the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Amendment Rules, 2014. The Rules establish, among other items, new health warnings to cover 85 percent of the front and back of tobacco product packaging. These Rules were to have gone into effect on April 1, 2015, but the MOHFW has issued a subsequent notification establishing April 1, 2016 as the implementation date of the new warnings.3

  1. WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic, Country profile India. (2015). Retrieved April 21, 2016 from
  2. Global Burden of Disease Study 2013 (GBD 2013) Results by Location, Cause, and Risk Factor. Retrieved April 21, 2016 from
  3. Tobacco Control Laws Country Details for India: Packaging and Labeling. (2015). Retrieved April 21, 2016 from