The country suffers a huge loss of about 502 million USD a year as the "indirect cost" of tobacco-induced morbidity, says an article published in a medical journal.
While 398 million USD is estimated to be the indirect morbidity costs on smoked tobacco, smokeless tobacco products results in 104 million USD, says a review paper carried by a recent issue of Indian Journal of Medical and Paediatric Oncology.
"Indirect morbidity costs" are explained as costs on caregivers and value of work loss due to illness.
This is apart from the direct medical costs of treating tobacco-related diseases, which for the year 2004 was USD 907 million for smoked tobacco, and USD 285 million for smokeless tobacco.
The paper is authored by Dr Gauravi A Mishra of Tata Memorial Centre, Mumbai, with Dr Sharmila A Pimple and Dr Surendra S Shastri.
The total economic cost of tobacco use in India in 2004 was calculated to be 16 per cent more than the total excise tax revenues from all tobacco products during the year.
The total economic cost includes direct health care expenditure for inpatient hospitalisation or outpatient visits, expenditures incurred for transportation other than ambulance and lodging charge of caregivers and wage income lost to the whole household due to inpatient hospitalisation or outpatient visits.
The paper also underlines the need for adequate tobacco cessation services in the country. Lack of cessation services may lead to an additional 160 million global deaths among smokers by 2050. Cessation centres in India have reported quit rates of around 16 per cent, six weeks after intervention, the paper notes.