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Economics SL
Economics SL
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Table of content
Research question
Research context
Research methodology
Main findings and analysis of primary research
Tobacco as a demerit good
Are e-cigarettes really demerit goods
NCE in bangalore's vape market
Welfare costs in the bangalore vape market
Government intervention in bangalore market
Welfare impact of vape ban in bangalore
Appendix – 1
Appendix - 2

Effect of the vape ban on the welfare costs of tobacco consumption in Bangalore.

Effect of the vape ban on the welfare costs of tobacco consumption in Bangalore. Reading Time
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Table of content

Research question

To what extent has the vape ban been effective in reducing the welfare costs of tobacco consumption in Bangalore?


Tobacco is a de-merit good due to its harmful content nicotine, which as a major ingredient, accounts for a larger proportions of the substance abuse among the Indian youth. Demerit goods refer to those which are not undesirable for consumers only, but are over provided in the market1, leading to spill- over costs to the society. Smoked tobacco can be in different forms, like cigarettes, cigars, bidis, and kreteks, or loose tobacco in a pipe or hookah, and other tobacco consumption is in the form of chewing tobacco, snuff, dip, and snus; snuff can also be sniffed2. All forms of tobacco can be categorized as de-merit goods, as they are causing harmful effects directly to the user and indirectly to his family and the wider society.


Vaping is heating a liquid, turning it into a vapour, using an electronic inhaler device to deliver nicotine along with other chemicals, instead of burning of tobacco3. Vaping is an alternative form of tobacco consumption. Vape devices, also called e-cigarettes, are two types, discreet pod / pen devices and more complex tank devices4. E-Cigarette heats the liquid nicotine with other raw-materials to produce the vapour, which is inhaled by the consumer5. Electronic cigarettes, as an alternative system of the nicotine consumption, have relatively less harmful emissions than smoking6. However, they are also considered as demerit goods, though less harmful than the consumption of cigarettes and other forms of tobacco7. This can also be a substitute for more harmful cigarette smoking.

Research context

Much before the Union Government’s ban, on 15th June, 2016, the Minister of Health and Welfare, U T Khader announced the banning of the e-cigarettes in the State of Karnataka, citing the addiction of a huge number of youngsters towards vaping, as per the study conducted by the state health department in collaboration with other experts, which showed that e-cigarettes attracts the younger generation to consume the conventional cigarettes. U T Khader, while announcing the vaping ban, also cited – “it is shocking to that even medical shops sell e-cigarettes” and so need to ban the vaping, also based on the notification on the recommendation of a committee on tobacco control. Laws permit use of two milligrams of nicotine, but for chewable chocolates only, to facilitate the de- addiction, which was clearly misused by the e-cigarette manufacturers, as the minister said. Thus the broader outcome of the vaping among teenagers can have far-reaching long-term implications of sparking larger consumption of tobacco among the Bangalore youth.


Following the Karnataka Government ban, the Union Government also banned e-cigarettes, in August 2018, citing to “protect the population, especially youth and children, from the risk of its addiction.


This fired up the ongoing consumer protests in Karnataka, which escalated to a national level. In the Public Interest Litigation (PIL), the Association of Vapers India (AVI), a nation-wide consumer rights group of e-cigarette users, filed a case against the ban on e-cigarettes in the Karnataka High Court in 2018, producing evidence to say e-cigarettes were helping tobacco smokers quit and they accused the Karnataka Government of being not able to control the sale of e-cigarettes in online modes, which is clearly evident in the illegal supply of e-cigarettes in the Bangalore market, even through the online retailers like flipkart and amazon.


In a press meeting they organized, Samrat Chowdhery, director of AVI briefed “Banning their use while allowing cigarettes to be sold violates basic principles of public health; protects the tobacco industry and criminalizes citizens who are trying to avoid tobacco-related death and disease.


These recent dynamics on vaping, from all fronts has a clear impact on the tobacco market of Karnataka and India, as a whole, adding much newer dimensions to the vape ban in 2016. Thus, a study is focused on the Government intervention in the Bangalore tobacco market and the welfare impact of the vaping ban, seems relevant and significant in the correction of market failure, in a local and even national level.


Therefore the research question


To what extent has the vape ban been effective in reducing the welfare costs of tobacco consumption in Bangalore?


Over and above the study of the welfare impact, a comparison of vaping with the consumption of tobacco in other forms, majorly smoking is done to assess the overall impact of the Karnataka Government’s ban on the welfare costs; that is the external costs and thus the social costs due to the over-consumption of e-Cigarettes, especially by the Bangalore youth, from the time of the Government ban on vaping till now. This helps to examine the overall positive impact on the welfare costs for Government and hence the correction of the market failure in the broad tobacco market of Bangalore.

Research methodology

The research population is limited to the Bangalore City, and the investigation is done on the vape ban by Karnataka Government in 2016, followed by a nation-wide vape ban in 2018, by the Union Government. The research will be conducted based on the extensive secondary data, supported by the primary research conducted in the Bangalore city.


For Primary data I have collected data by questionnaire method. I have used 30 samples for collecting primary data.


Major secondary sources are the articles from local and national newspapers and a range of researches made in different disciplines on the same problem. Most of the news articles support the research with necessary facts and other historic data, during the period of the vape ban in Karnataka. The investigation is also extended to the nation-wide vape ban by Union Government and its repercussions, especially in the Bangalore City. The news articles of later years help to evaluate the impact of the opposition of the consumer associations, apart from the positive developments in the Bangalore tobacco market.


The welfare impact on the society of banning on the vape in Bangalore can be made more relevant with the primary investigation conducted on the selected group of tobacco consumers (vapers and consumers in other forms like chewing, smoking cigarettes, hooka Etc.) from Bangalore city. This gives the most relevant first-hand information, which must throw light on the level of addiction, the possibilities of alternatives and the rate of fall in the overall consumption of tobacco in the city.


An appropriate mix of primary and secondary investigation, is done to maximize the reliability of the data processed, as the respondents in the survey may not give a true representation of the total tobacco consumers and the secondary sources may not be up-to-date and absolutely free from any possible media bias (because of which the results may seem over generalized). Supplementing the secondary research with primary findings helped to minimize any such reliability issues to a large extent.


Therefore my hypothesis is vaping have been effective in reducing the welfare loss in regard to the consumption of tobaccos’.

Main findings and analysis of primary research

The questionnaire survey conducted on 30 tobacco consumers in the Bangalore market of the age
group 18 to 28 years, revealed interesting facts about the consumer behavior in the Bangalore
tobacco market, even after the vape ban and the state categorizing tobacco as poison.

Figure 1 - Percentage Of Vapers In Bangalore Market

Nearly 27% of tobacco consumers represent the migrant population in Bangalore. Those who quit tobacco consumption also responded.


Here we can see the e-cigarettes industry have more market share this could be because of non price factor like people switching from tobacco consumption in different modes and moving to e- cigarettes or vape.

Figure 2 - Tobacco Consumption In The Bangalore Market

The high percentage of regular vapers, can be an indication of the addictive nature of the vape. However, the regular vapers share the opinion that e-cigarettes are the most harmless and least addictive among all the tobacco products. The e-cigarettes are more expensive, compared to the cigarettes and chewable tobacco, which are responded to be the most addictive forms of tobacco, followed by Hooka. Also, some of the respondents who all quitted smoking in the last few years, also shares the opinion that vaping helps to facilitate a smooth transition to free one from the tobacco addiction. Even after the vape ban and the classification of nicotine as poison by the State, e- cigarettes are found to be the available among the teen and youth consumers in Bangalore, as per the interaction with some respondents to verify similar findings from secondary sources. This is publically admitted by the State also. An observation on the consumption of the tobacco as a whole among the respondents is shown in a Venn diagram.


This tobacco industry with special reference to cigarettes do maintain the same market share. This is due to the easy availably and less cost and more choice. The economic market structure of monopolistic nature do exist here.

Figure 3 - Combination Of The Tobacco Consumption Among The Respondents

Half of the respondents were found to be the consumers of tobacco and put of them, nearly half consume Cigarettes, vape and hooka, indicated by the intersection of all 3 varieties of tobacco cause the major welfare costs in the tobacco market. Individually, the cigarette 9 smokers impact social welfare the most and the 14 vapers cause the least, although the smokers of hooka were mostly occasional.


As like the figure 2 the ven figure 1 also refers to the monopolistic nature of the cigeratte industry. Where as the e-cigarette firms and usage is higher, this is because vapaing inelastic due to low substitutes and price rigidity.

Figure 4 - Did Vape Helped To Quit Smoking?

As confirmed by the 3 of the 4 cigarette smokers who quitted, vape is found to help in the smokers to quit smoking, which verifies the Public Interest Litigation by the Association of Vapers India (AVI), who produced the evidence to say e-cigarettes were helping tobacco smokers quit for their case, as mentioned above.


The welfare loss is reduced due to the fact that has reduced smoking due to vape. It can be shown in the diagram. In this diagram MSB is greater than MSC. The shaded area is the welfare loss. This is a benefit ti the society. The private benefit is below the social benefit.

Figure 5 - MSB / MSC

Impact of vape ban on bangalore's tobacco market

Figure 6 - Bangalore Vape Market As A Proportion Of The Total Vape Market

The analysis involves a broader study on the overall impact of the specific dynamics in the Bangalore vape market, (since the 2016 vape ban in the state), on the larger market of tobacco consumers, producers and the society, as a whole. Though the Government intervention in the Bangalore tobacco market may be restricted to the relatively narrow segment of vapers, a complete ban may have wider long-term welfare implications on the Bangalore Tobacco market as a whole, as per this research hypothesis.


This diagram shows the consumers of vape market in comparison to the tobacco market. As the goods seem to be complementary to each other. This mentions here that the goods are in relation with other or not.


The study examines the extent to which the vape ban in Karnataka corrects the market failure in the Bangalore tobacco market, as a whole. The effectiveness of the supply-side policy of vape ban in the city, (against the popular demand side policy of indirect taxes on demerit goods) initiate the question, whether the e-Cigarette is a demerit good or not. To have a thorough evaluation on the welfare impact of the vape ban, a comparison between vaping and smoking, as demerit goods are necessary.


A large proportion of e-cigarette consumers also consume, cigarettes and other forms like chewable tobacco, too. The high frequency consumers of e-cigarettes need to be tested clinically to assess the addictive nature of vaping. A detailed evaluation is required to categorize vaping, as a demerit good

Tobacco as a demerit good

Tobacco is a typical example of a demerit good, which is widely used by youth in Indian cities. according to the World Health Organisation more than 1 million Indians die because of tobacco consumption every year and it is consumed in various forms like cigarettes, bidis, cigars, hookah, e- cigarettes E-cigarettes (also known as vape pens) and electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) etc. Tobacco contains many chemical substances such as nicotine, carbon monoxide and tar and potential carcinogen like Benzopyrene, Nitrosamine. These chemicals are mainly in the particulate and gaseous phase. Tobacco consumption is the major source of many fatal diseases like chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes, ischemic heart diseases and even cancer.


Tobacco is the most addictive of all demerit goods, which means its demand is highly inelastic in nature. Therefore the MSB and MPB curves are sharply vertical in nature. This implies the consumers are highly insensitive to the changes in price, which means the consumption of tobacco will not change in proportion with even sharp changes in the price of tobacco (increase/decrease).Vape pens are also included as demerit good. They also follow inelastic demand curve. As we can see in the above analysis they follow a monopoly or oligopolistic market structure. And it promote vape pens that it will help in reduction of the consumption of tobacco.


Owing to the high price-inelastic demand, an imposition of indirect tax, by Government may not significantly reduce the consumption of tobacco (especially traditional cigarettes). Therefore Government has to use an appropriate mix of policies and legislation to curb the over-consumption of tobacco, like the age restrictions for smoking, legislation to prevent smoking in public places, imposing certain fine on the chewing and spitting tobacco in public places etc. Awareness campaigns educating the youth and as mentioned a very high taxation will effect the disposable income. This will help in reduction in the consumption of tobacco. They also follow the oligopolistic market structure where there will be very sellers and more buyers. Price rigidity due to non collusive nature and also follow prisoner’s dilemma.

Are e-cigarettes really demerit goods

For the comparison between smking and vaping, the relationship between e-Cigarettes and Cigarettes need to be studied. Based on the primary survey conducted on the tobacco consumers from 8 metro cities (with 375 respondents, each), 17.5 % of the consumers started their tobacco consumption with e-Cigarettes, which supports the argument that Vaping is a doorway to smoking or other harmful forms of tobacco consumption, especially for teenagers youngsters. A research by Dr Jennifer Leyden on a sample of younger population with median age 19, majority of patients presented with respiratory symptoms (98%), gastrointestinal symptoms (81per cent) and constitutional symptoms (100%)

Figure 7 - Chest Radiographs And High-Resolution Computed Tomographic In A 17 Year Old Male Patient With Diffuse

This assumes both cigarettes and e-cigarettes are not substitutes, but related goods, where consumption of the former led to the regular use of the latter, meaning the e-cigarettes are demerit goods, with the external costs, as identified more as a starter for smoking, than its harmful vapour. Also, Karnataka Government has classified nicotine as a poisonous substance under the Karnataka Poisons Rules, 2019, in response to the nationwide protests by consumer groups on the vape ban.


However, e-cigarettes can be a way lesser harmful alternative for smoking and also a means to facilitate the nicotine replacement therapy to recover from the smoking habits. Therefore, it has some external (and so social benefits), which argues the same is not a demerit good.


Demerit goods are goods, which the external party is harmed or suffered due to an individual’s act. In this case cigarettes as seen above can be classified as demerit good.

NCE in bangalore's vape market

The external costs incurred due to the over-consumption of demerit goods like tobacco are generally termed as negative consumption externalities. The over consumption of tobacco clearly indicates an over-allocation of resources towards their production and consumption, leading to a market failure. 


Figure - 1 illustrates the NCE in the vaping market of Bangalore before the ban.

Figure 8 - Negative Externalities Due To The Over-Consumption Of Tobacco

The Marginal Social Benefits (MSB) curve fails to represent the external costs incurred by vaping, as the Marginal Private Benefits (MPB) enjoyed by the consumer is greater than the MSB. When MPB>MSB, the benefits enjoyed by the consumer of a tobacco is higher than their private costs, and the additional cost spills over to society, at the equilibrium output output Q1, where MSC= MPB. At Q2, MSC=MSB, represents the optimum allocation of resources, ie; the allocative efficiency.


Here the welfare loss is the shaded area. As we can see the in smoking the private benefit is above the social benefit and it creates welfare loss to the society. This can be corrected by government policy and informative advertisement.

Welfare costs in the bangalore vape market

This causes a welfare loss to the society, as shown by the shaded region, are the harmful effects of vaping for society as the deterioration of youth health etc. It might also have impacted the overall productivity and creativity of the youth. Bangalore, considered as the Silicon valley of India, as one of the cities with the largest number of technically skilled workers, causing a broader welfare impact.


By internalizing the external costs, the welfare costs can be eliminated in the vaping market, maximizing social surplus at the optimum output, Q2, for which the Government takes different measures to bring down the over consumption of the demerit good.


The Government intervention purely happened in the supply side through a complete ban on vaping.

Government intervention in bangalore market

Due to a ban in of vape market it will not reduce the welfare loss because vape is not a substitute product.

Figure 9 - Effect Of Government Taxes On Vape Market

Here, in this diagram government taxes the vape market and try to reduce the welfare loss. There is an intervention from the government that there is a ban. But this will help the black market to flourish but as there is unavailability of the goods in the market, this will increase the price of the goods even in the black market. This is shown in the above diagram that the private cost increases due to the ban. And the underground market will hike the prices. The market was working at Qm at price Pm. Due to an increase in tax MSC curve shift to the right and price increase. As there is a ban in the market for the vape goods, this will create the underground market to flourish.

Welfare impact of vape ban in bangalore

The amount of welfare costs eliminated in the Bangalore tobacco market, just due to vaping only is negligible than the correction of any other forms of tobacco consumption, as there is no tobacco content in the vape.

Figure 10 - Impact Of The Vape Ban In The Bangalore Market

The impact on the vape ban, as shown with the dotted red-line in the Figure 3, cannot significantly impact the huge welfare loss in the tobacco market, indicated by the shaded region.


Due to this government regulation the private benefit is reduced so there is fall in MPB towards left as seen in the diagram. But as the tobacco and vape market is relatively inelastic and also has an oligopolistic market structure the will be a reduction in the welfare loss but cannot eradicate it simply.


However, the welfare impact of this decision, largely depends upon its impact on smoking, which has much higher external costs, as evident in the UNEP findings from the 6th GRIHA Regional Conference, which did a comparative study of Air pollution and Cigarette smoking based on the data from the year 2012. As per the UNEP report, the ultra-fine particulate matter in the Delhi air at an annual average is 153 microgram/cubic meter, (equal to the harm done by the daily smoking 20 cigarettes by an individual). With an annual average of 45, it equates, every Bangalorians smoking 6 cigarettes a day, on an average and Cigarettes are one of the major indoor pollutants also.


Also vape is still available in Bangalore and it has some positive externalities of aiding the quitting of smoking. There are chances of vapers switching back to Cigarettes, which lead to much higher costs externally. Vaping was also considered as a viable option to quit smoking for the addicted, which is well evident from the consumer responses, who used vaping to quit their smoking. The notion of vape as a reliable substitute of smoking, as experimented in other country markets argue the vape ban might create even higher welfare loss in the broader tobacco market, led by the cigarette smokers.


According to this research I have found out that my hypothesis cannot be concluded as it has reduced the consumption of tobacco. As this research is a time bound and happened during the time of pandemic COVID 19 so most of the research analysis happened with the secondary data. This research helped to understand the market structure of vape markets. This can be used for further research in the under graduate program. The government should make policy and laws to reduce the consumption of tobaccos. Also negative advertisements and giving some grants to companies who wants to change their production from tobacco to any other merit goods should be considered. Taxing will help in reduction of consumption but as this will affect the disposable income which might affect the livelihood of the poor earners. As in the research government should be prime in making this effective.


The vape ban by Karnataka Government in 2016 has had a considerable impact on the tobacco consumption of the teen agers and early youth, as they are the potential users of the substance. It reduces the chances of entry to smoking which is the most harmful of all forms of tobacco consumption. However, the Government has not yet taken proportionate measures to prevent the smokers and the ban on vape might also prevent the opportunity for some smokers to quit smoking systematically, as per the findings of the primary and secondary investigation. The complete ban on smoking seems less impacting the allocative efficiency of the overall tobacco market as a supply-side intervention, where the same supply-side intervention might be more suitable for the cigarette market, which has the most welfare costs in the tobacco market. Therefore, the extent to which vape ban corrects the market failure of the Bangalore tobacco market is still a question, which can only be answered with an extended research on the impact of vape ban on the overall tobacco market, considering the substitutability and XED of Vape on cigarette smoking.


As we can see that the vape market is an oligopolistic market and it requires more depth analysis on their pricing and how few firms that tap the market to be leaders. The market where they follow rigidity in pricing in non-collusive manner and in collusive manner, they follow prisoner’s dilemma. They might also act like monopoly in the long run. This is an additive product and government cannot ban these inelastic goods but they can create law or policy, which will benefit the large audience. Taxation will be one of the solutions, this will help the government to transfer these collected revenue for positive externality. As per the research analysis, it has been seen that the negative externalities cannot be completely eradicated. But by banning the products which is relatively inelastic good and being demerit good, it will create a parallel market to flourish. We can see the research has brought out that there is more scope to do the research on the externality effect from banning a product. The research also mentioned that these vape and tobacco are unrelated goods. This had no impact on the welfare loss of the community. The study also mentioned being unrelated goods there is a reduction in consumption of tobacco with the vape market.

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Appendix – 1

Questionnaire for the survey of vapers in bangalore city

(The fields/questions marked with * are compulsory and ** are very important )

Name :

Age* :


Question 1 -  Are you a native of Bangalore, Karnataka* ?

a] Yes

b] No

Question 2 -  Do you consume tobacco, at present**?

a] Yes

b] No

(b) If Yes, do you smoke cigarettes**?

a] Yes

b] No

Question 3 - If the answer is “Yes” for Question no. 2 (a) only ;

(a) In what other forms do you consume tobacco* ?

a] e-Cigarettes

b] Chewable Tobacco

c] Hooka

d] Others

Please specify...........................


(b) How frequently you consume tobacco*?

a] Very often

b] Often

c] Daily

d] Sometimes e] Rarely


(c) Which of the forms of tobacco consumption shown below is the most frequent of

a] all others ** ?

b] e-Cigarettes

c] Chewable Tobacco

d] Hooka

e] Others


Question - 4  If the answer is “No” for Question no. 2;

(a) Did you quit smoking*?

a] Yes

a] No

(b) The year in which you quit smoking**

a] 2015

b] 2016

c] 2017

d] 2018

e] 2019

f] 2020

(c) Did you switch from cigarette to e-cigarette to quit smoking**?

a] Yes

b] No

Question 5 - Write your opinion on the vape ban in Karnataka


Question 6 - Did you choose to smoke instead of vaping **?

a] Yes

b] No

Question 7 - Given a choice, would you prefer vape over cigarettes **?

Question 8 - Which of the forms of tobacco consumption is more addictive according to you?

Question 9 - Which of the forms of tobacco consumption is more harmful to health according to you*?

Question 10 - Which of the forms of tobacco consumption is more expensive for you to consume*?

Appendix - 2

Research on 375 bangalorean vapers



“Since e-cigarette use was low in India, it was not feasible to recruit vapers using a probability-based random sampling approach. There were also no suitable sampling frames in India (e.g., membership lists) from which to select subjects. Many surveys of vapers have relied on self-volunteered internet samples, but these also face various limitations (lack of control over recruitment location, possibility for double entries, confirmation of respondent’s fit into the inclusion criteria, indeterminate reliability and validity, etc.). In this study, we aimed to generate a sample of current vapers in India in order to obtain information on their experience with e-cigarette use and examine their past and current smoking status. Therefore, and in light of the limitations of sampling avenues, we decided to recruit a convenience sample of e-cigarette users from across India, in order to reduce bias due to recruitment in one location. We chose the 8 largest metropolitan areas of India, namely Delhi in northern, Kolkata in the eastern, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, and Pune in western, and Bangalore, Chennai, and Hyderabad in the southern regions of India (Fig. 1). We decided on an overall sample size of 3000 in order to increase the power to conduct analysis of subgroups (e.g., gender, prevalence, and health). This was a convenience sample in which interviewers in these target cities were asked to identify vapers from among their contacts and networks. Inclusion criteria were being a current e-cigarette user (based on self-report) and aged ≥ 18 years. Interviewers were asked to continue recruitment until a total sample of 375 was reached in each target city.


Map of India showing the geographical locations of the 8 target metropolitan cities


A questionnaire comprising 72 questions was used for the survey, which was based on previous online surveys [22, 23]. To improve the questionnaire design and ensure the comprehension of the survey items, 7 e-cigarette users (who did not participate to the final study sample) were recruited and participated in an assessment of the questionnaire using the method of cognitive interviewing [24]. The first part of the questionnaire included demographic data. Subsequently, participants were asked about their past (before e-cigarette use initiation) and current smoking and SLT use patterns, including duration and frequency of use. Assessment of smoking dependence was performed by using the Fagerström Test for Cigarette Dependence (FTCD) [25]. Then, there were questions about patterns of current e-cigarette use, including frequency of use, types of products used, and daily consumption. Additionally, participants were asked to report self-perceived changes in health parameters as well as side effects after e-cigarette use initiation, based on a previous survey [22]. The self-reported effect of e-cigarettes on tobacco use status of study participants was assessed separately for smoking tobacco and for SLT use by asking “Did you manage to reduce or quit smoking tobacco with the help of e-cigarettes?” and “Did you manage to reduce or quit chewing (oral) tobacco with the help of e-cigarette?” Response options were (1) Yes, I managed to quit; (2) Yes, I managed to reduce consumption; (3) Initially, I managed to quit but then I relapsed; (4) No, I did not quit or reduce consumption; and (5) No and in fact I increased my consumption. Finally, the perception of harm from e-cigarette was examined both in absolute terms and in comparison to smoking by asking “Do you think e-cigarettes are (1) Absolutely harmless, (2) Substantially less harmful than tobacco cigarettes, (3) Slightly less harmful than tobacco cigarettes, (4) Equally harmful as tobacco cigarettes, 5. Slightly more harmful than tobacco cigarettes, and (6) Substantially more harmful than tobacco cigarettes.”


The questionnaire was loaded on handheld devices, laptops, or PCs and was pre-tested before its application in the field. Interviews were conducted either face-to-face using the handheld devices or laptops, or in CATI (computer-assisted-telephone-interview) mode. Field-level data were aggregated and perused weekly for quality checks.


The study was carried out as per the guidelines approved by the Institutional Ethics Committee for Human Samples/Participants (IECHSP) of NEHU. The study was approved on August 02, 2017.”