Context: In India, 14% of the population use smoked tobacco products. Increasing prices of these products is one of the measures to curb their consumption.
Aims: This study analyzes "unit price" and "daily consumption" of cigarettes and bidis and investigates their relation with each other.
Settings and design: A cross-sectional survey was conducted in four states of India (Bihar, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra) as a part of the International Tobacco Control Policy (TCP) Evaluation Project (the TCP India Project) during 2010-2011.
Methods: Information was collected from adult (aged ≥ 15) daily exclusive smokers of cigarette/bidi regarding (a) last purchase (purchase in pack/loose, brand and price) and (b) daily consumption. Average unit price and daily consumption was calculated for different brands and states. Regression model was used to assess the impact of price on daily consumption.
Results: Bidis were much less expensive ([symbol in text]0.39) than cigarettes ([symbol in text]3.1). The daily consumption was higher (14) among bidi smokers than cigarette smokers (8). The prices and daily consumption of bidis ([symbol in text]0.33-0.43; 12-15) and cigarettes ([symbol in text]2.9-3.6; 5-9) varied across the four states. The unit prices of bidis and cigarettes did not influence their daily consumption. Smokers purchasing bidis in packs paid substantially less per unit and purchase of bidis and cigarettes in packs influenced their consumption positively.
Conclusions: Cigarettes although more expensive than bidis, seem very cheap if compared internationally. Hence, prices of both cigarettes and bidis do not influence their consumption.