Kolkata: Raising his voice against a "restrictive" regime for the domestic tobacco industry, top Top cigarette manufacturer ITC's Chairman Y C Deveshar today said pictorial health warnings are killing the local brands while products smuggled from abroad are flooding the market.
"Today, 28 per cent of the cigarettes consumed in the country are smuggled from countries like China, Indonesia, Pakistan and Bangladesh where there are no pictorial health warnings.
"Even in the United States, there are no pictorial health warnings. In India, the brands made here are being killed due to pictorial health warnings," he said.
Deveshwar said that cigarette smuggling was also causing loss of revenue to the exchequer to the tune of Rs 7,000 crore as no duties are paid and also leading to foreign exchange outflow through unaccounted means.
ITC, a diversified conglomerate, is a dominant player in the cigarette manufacturing business and owns popular brands like Wills, Gold Flake and Classic.
"The sales volumes of cigarettes manufactured here are going down, while tobacco consumption is rising," the ITC Chairman told reporters here after the company's AGM.
In the last three years, taxation has increased 300 per cent and smuggling had gone up, he said. To a query, he said ITC will never exit from the tobacco business despite the restrictive regime and its effort would be to minimise smuggling.
The tobacco business contributed more than 40 per cent of the company's revenue and also a substantial contribution to profits.