To evade the increased taxes on tobacco products, many Karelia and other cigarette brands are being illegally marketed in Andhra Pradesh especially in small villages, said officials of the National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP), a World Health Organisation and ministry of family welfare initiative.
Moreover, it is mandatory for the product pack to carry a health warning stating that tobacco consumption causes cancer.
According to the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003, the health warning must be pictorial, to drive home the message more effectively and to the illiterate.
Despite this law, the state tobacco control cell says some brands are not printing the pictorial health warning, especially on packs sold in rural areas said Dr Kishor Mogulluru, state consultant, NTCP.
According to the health department, tobacco consumption leads to 2,500 deaths every day in India, and direct health costs are around Rs 40,000 crore.
About 20 per cent of the adult population between 15-18 years of age is addicted to tobacco products.