Tobacco retailer density and tobacco retailers near schools in two cities of East India, Ranchi and Siliguri

Nidhi Sejpal Pouranik, Sejal Saraf, Kathy Wright, Ashish Pandey, Sonu Goel, Rana Jugdeep Singh, Ryan David Kennedy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Passive and active exposure to tobacco smoke is associated with tuberculosis infection and tuberculosis disease. Addressing tobacco use is a critical strategy to address tuberculosis (TB). Studies conducted globally demonstrate that the physical presence and density of tobacco vendors can increase tobacco use in both youth and adults. Little is known about the number and density of tobacco vendors in India, where there are approximately 267 million tobacco users. In India, a national tobacco control law (COTPA, 2003) prohibits the sale of tobacco within 100-yards of an educational institution. Little is known about the number of tobacco vendors operating within 100-yards of schools. This study assesses the number and density of tobacco vendors in the cities of Ranchi (Jharkhand) and Siliguri (West Bengal), and the number of retailers selling tobacco near schools. Both of these jurisdictions have passed local tobacco vendor licensing laws. Methods: Data collectors conducted a census of tobacco vendors within select wards in each city. Each tobacco vendor was classified as either an independent store, permanent kiosk, temporary kiosk, or street vendor. The location of each tobacco vendor was recorded. Data collectors also noted the location of any school/educational institution. Spatial analysis was conducted using GIS software (QGIS 10.5). 100-yard buffers were mapped around school premises. Tobacco vendor density was calculated by area, by road distance, and by population. Tobacco vendors within 100-yards of school properties were counted. Results: The study identified 559 tobacco vendors in Ranchi, across three wards, and 367 tobacco vendors in Siliguri, across five wards. When considering the three wards in Ranchi, tobacco vendor density was 68 vendors/km2, 06 vendors/km road, and 08 vendors/1000 population. In Siliguri, the tobacco vendor density was 99 vendors/km2, 05 vendors/km road, and 07 vendors/1000 population. The study found that 19% (n = 105) of vendors observed in Ranchi and 23% (n = 84) of vendors in Siliguri were located within 100-yards of one or more schools. The most common vendor-type in Ranchi was an independent store (58%) and in Siliguri was a permanent kiosk (52%). Conclusion: Tobacco vendor density was remarkably high in each of the surveyed wards. The study identified tobacco vendors operating within 100-yards of schools. Fully implementing COTPA, 2003 could reduce vendor density in Ranchi and Siliguri. Each city's tobacco vendor licensing laws could further reduce tobacco vendor density. Other strategies should be considered to further reduce density, including setting limits on tobacco vendor type, area or population. The data from this study can be used to inform future tobacco control strategies for these cities and others in the region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S14-S22
JournalIndian Journal of Tuberculosis
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • India
  • Tobacco control
  • Tobacco retailer density
  • Tobacco retailers near schools
  • Tobacco vendor licensing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases


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