Tobacco consumption is a major contributing and risk factor and the 6th leading cause of death globally1. Smokeless tobacco is consumed in an unburnt form and has been widely used orally or through nasal inhalation2. Smokeless tobacco products have differences in their composition, preparation, and toxicity, but they all consisting of a nicotine alkaloid3. The chemical constituents or main ingredients present in the smokeless tobacco products are nicotine, tobacco-specific N-nitrosamines (TSNA), nitrosamine acids, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), aldehydes, and heavy metals4. Globally, the consumption of smokeless tobacco is largely concentrated in India and Bangladesh. These two countries have 80% of the 300 million smokelesstobacco users worldwide5,6. The tobacco industry invests half a billion dollars annually to promote the manufacture of SLT products, twice as much as earlier7,8. Recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed a rule to reduce the amount of tobacco-specific N-nitrosamines in SLT products in the United States due to their carcinogenic activity9.

Smokeless tobacco users who dip or chew 8–10 times a day might ingest a similar amount of nicotine as cigarette smokers who smoke 30–40 cigarettes per day10,11. The consumption of smokeless tobacco is higher due to the greater social acceptance, curiosity, and culture, which are influencing factors for SLT initiation and prevalence. About 35–40% of tobacco consumption in India is in smokeless tobacco forms, most of which is Nicotiana rustica, while most smoking tobacco is Nicotiana tabacum12. There are several types of chewing habits like the use of betel quid, khaini, mawa, panmasala plain without tobacco, and gutkha13. Promotion of SLT use has increased as non-users start to use SLT, which serves as an alternative to smoking and leads to dual-users of tobacco14,15 with the number of consumers increasing annually.

To combat the above epidemic, the Indian government has introduced warning labels for cigarettes or other tobacco products16. Tobacco warning labels are a useful tobacco control tool, however research has shown that attention to warnings and exposure to current health warning labels is lowest among individuals with lower education and income17,18. Health warnings on product packaging are a costeffective, population-wide strategy to inform populations about the health risks associated with tobacco consumption19.

The aim of the present study is to examine the reported composition, characteristics and manufacturers of smokeless tobacco products in India.


This was a cross-sectional pack-collection study. Available information on details and product profiles of various SLT products and pictorial warnings labels were collected from retail shops in Ananthapur, India. The different SLT products include panmasala, gutkha, khaini and tobacco brands, purchased from nearby paan shops. The baba chewing tobacco is available in various types and this information was collected from owners of paan shops.


Tables 13 depict the current types of smokeless tobacco products available for sale in Ananthapur, India, including their reported ingredients, price, and manufacturer.

Table 1

Tobacco brands available in Andhra Pradesh, India

NoTobacco brandsReported ingredientsNet weight (g)Tobacco companyPrice (Rs )
1Swagat goldUnmanufactured raw tobacco Not a gutkha or panmasala25Qutab manufacturing company, Bakoli, Delhi20/-
2RajaTobacco spit product Not a gutkha/ panmasala/ supari6Lokenath Prasad Gupta, Patparganj, Delhi5/-
3Madhu chhapManufactured tobacco Not a gutkha/ panmasala9Maa sharda tobacco, Dasanpura, Hobli, Banglore5/-
4Hans chhapTobacco15Murali lal Harish chanderjaiswal, Preet vihar, Delhi5/-
5MirajTobacco10Miraj products, Nathdwara, Rajasthan5/-
6Chaini/KhainiTobacco and lime stone paste0.36Harsh international industries, Haryana15/-
7Jora or Blue bullTobacco4/-
8Cool lipFilter tabbaq3.6Tej ram dharam paul, Maur Mandi, Punjab9/-
9Meenaji mawaTobaccoMeena Jarda Udyog Pvt Ltd, Bhubaneswar5/-
10Hindustan khainiTobacco, lime, added flavors, and spices Not a gutkha or panmasalaPeeyush company, Mohanpur, India10/-
11BadshahaManufactured tobacco Not a gutkha/ panmasala/ supariDamodar Jagannath Malpani fast track Pvt Ltd, Korahubli, Tumkur5/-
12Zara snusTobacco, lime water, menthol, oil, spices and added flavors3.6India10/-
13Gokul zarda patti (mawa)Tobacco, betel nut, natural, synthetic flavours lime, aromatic spices, sounf and mentholMaa Bhairabi product, Behrampur, India4/-
14SVS madras snuffSri Vijaya Lakshmi snuff products, Radha Krishna Nagar, Chennai4/-
15Kamath100% unmanufactured tobacco8New kamath tobacco Pvt Ltd, PO Mira, Thane District4/-
16Mangalam goldTobacco15HN packaging and marketing, Allawalpur Mohammdabad, Farrukhabad10/-

[i] Rs: Rupees. These tobacco products are regulated under COTPA ACT 2003.

Table 2

Gutkha brands available in Andhra Pradesh, India

NoGutkha brandsEffective ingredientsTobacco companyPrice (Rs)
1KhalejaSaffron blended4/-
2RebelSaffron blended4/-
3K909 gutkhaBetel nut, catechu, tobacco, menthol, permitted spices, and flavorsGopalji ketaki khara masala, Berhampur3/-
4Pan parag powerSaffron blended gutkhaShiva shakti products, Kathmandu, Nepal4/-
5Premium nazar gutkhaBetel nut, catechu, tobacco, lime, permitted spices, and flavorsShrisiddeshwar fragrance Pvt Ltd, Sitapura, Jaipur, Rajasthan2/-

[i] These tobacco products did not show the COTPA ACT 2003 on the sachets.

Table 3

Panmasala product brands available in Andhra Pradesh, India

NoPanmasala brandsEffective ingredientsNet weight (g)Tobacco companyPrice (Rs)
1VimalBetel nut, catechu, lime, saffron, spices, and flavorsVSN Products, Tumkur, Karnataka5/-
V-1 ScentedTobaccoVS Products, Karnataka2/-
2RMDBetel nut, catechu, lime, menthol,Dhariwal industries Pvt Ltd, Singasandra village, Hosur road, Bangalore7/-
M scentedTobaccoDhariwal industries Pvt Ltd, Singasandra village, Hosur road, Bangalore4/-
3RajnigandhaNo tobacco and no nicotine added flavors1.7Dharampal Satyapal (Ltd), Bhamunimaiden, Guwahati (Assam)6/-
Baba 120Premium chewing tobacco0.45Dharampal premchand (Ltd), sector- 60, Noida5/-
4HiraBlend of kesar and elachi flavors 0 % tobacco and 0% nicotineHira enterprises, Yernal road, Nipani1/-
Royale-717TobaccoHira enterprises, Yernal road, Nipani1/-
5Shanti StrongBetelnut, catechu, lime, cardamom seed, permitted spices, and added flavorsS.M. Perfumers (P) Ltd, Bommasandra Indl area, Hosur road, Bangalore4/-
SNT 1000 Zarda ScentedTobaccoS.M. Perfumers (P) Ltd, Bommasandra Indl area, Hosur road, Bangalore2/-
6Star 555Betel nut, catechu, tobacco, lime, menthol, cardamom, and flavorsGhodawat industries Pvt Ltd, Hubali, Dharwad, (Karnataka)5/-
Star111TobaccoGhodawat Foods international industries Pvt Ltd, Hubali, Dharwad, (Karnataka)2/-
7Parag 9000 panmasalaBetel nut, catechu, tobacco, lime, menthol, cardamom, natural, and artificial flavors1.8Panparag India Limited, Allur, Bengaluru3/-
Parag 9000Tobacco2.5Panparag India Limited, Allur, Bengaluru1/-
8Goa 1000 panmasalaBetel nuts, catechu, cardamom, lime, saffron, and flavorsGlobal technology & trademarks Ltd,2/-
Goa 1000 zardaBlended chewing tobaccoGeluvu food products, vishweshwarapura, tumkur road, Nelamangla, Banglore1/-
9Super gem panmasala Super gemBetel nut, catechu, cardamom, lime, menthol, saffron and added flavorsThrishul arecanut granules, Siddu packaging Pvt Ltd4/-
10RajshreeBetel nut, catechu, cardamom, lime, menthol, natural and artificial flavors0.5Kaypan Fragrance Pvt Ltd, Ghaziabad4/-
Kp black label premiumTobaccoKaypan Fragrance Pvt Ltd, Ghaziabad1/-
11PanparagBetel nut, catechu, cardamom, lime, menthol, natural and artificial flavors 0 % tobacco and 0% nicotine3Ruchi flavors LLP, Dashrath Dist, Vadodara. Panparag India Ltd, Kanpur4/-
PPChewing tobaccoRuchi flavors LLP, Dashrath Dist, Vadodara. Panparag India Ltd, Kanpur2/-
12RR 24 caratBetel nut, catechu, cardamom, lime, menthol, natural and artificial flavors 0 % tobacco and 0% nicotine3Unique tobacco products, Bandlaguda, Post Keshavgiri, Hyderabad4/-
RR 24 goldTobaccoEveryday products, Bidar, Karnataka2/-
13RRNo tobacco and no nicotine Betel nut, catechu, lime, cardamom seeds, and added flavors3Unique tobacco products, Bandlaguda, Post Keshavgiri, Hyderabad4/-
RR goldTobaccoEveryday products, Kothari industrial area, Bidar, Karnataka2/-
14SagarNo tobacco and no nicotine Betel nut catechu, lime, cardamom, menthol, natural and artificial flavorsR.K. products, Hyderabad4/-
SR-1Scented tobaccoR.K. products, Bidar, Karnataka2/-
15Panbahar–No nicotine and no tobacco added flavors2.5Ashok & Co. Panbahar Ltd, Delhi5/-
The heritage panmasala
16Aashiqui0% tobacco and 0% nicotineMahalakshmi Devi flavors, Pvt Ltd, New Delhi5/-
supreme saffron blendedBetel nut, catechu, cardamom, lime, menthol, permitted spices, rose and kewara flavor
17Tansen blues- Flavoured panmasala Premium zardaNo tobacco and no nicotine Natural flavouring substances3Trimurthi Fragrances Pvt Ltd, Patparganj, Delhi4/-
Tobacco0.3Trimurthi Fragrances Pvt Ltd, Patparganj, Delhi2/-
18Raj niwas Flavoured panmasala Maha pasandNo tobacco and no nicotine Betel nut, catechu, cardamom, lime,Vardh Paper Products Pvt Ltd, Swarn Park Indl Area, Mundka, Delhi4/-
zafrani zardamenthol, natural, and artificial flavours TobaccoFocus township private limited, Swarn Park Indl Area, Mundka, Delhi2/-

Figures 1 and 2 present the images of different smokeless tobacco products available (including khaleja and rebel brands of gutkha, chaini brand of khaini, rajnigandha, hira, RMD, and panparag panmasala brands, baba 120 chewing tobacco, miraj, badshaha, hans chhap, zara snus, hindhusthan, manglam gold tobacco, swagat tobacco brands) in the Indian tobacco market.

Figure 1

Images of various smokeless tobacco products
Figure 2

Graphic warning labels on tobacco products, India

Most of the sampled smokeless tobacco products have the common pictorial health warning labels: ‘Chewing of panmasala is injurious to health; Tobacco causes mouth cancer; Tobacco kills; Chewing of tobacco is injurious to health; and Tobacco is injurious to health’ (Table 4).

Table 4

Pictorial health warning labels on smokeless tobacco products

NoProduct nameWarning label
1Premium nazar gutkhaTobacco kills
2KhainiTobacco causes mouth cancer
3Hindustan khainiChewing of tobacco is injurious to health and tobacco kills
4PanmasalaChewing of panmasala is/may be injurious to health
5Zara snusTobacco is injurious to health, tobacco causes cancer
6SVS madras snuffTobacco causes mouth cancer


Our observational study identified numerous sub-brands, ingredients, and warning labels across multiple types of smokeless tobacco products in India, providing a glimpse of a smokeless tobacco market.

The reported smokeless tobacco constituents might contribute to the development of adverse health effects among consumers. Gutkha, panmasala, khaini and tobacco products are the multiple forms of smokeless tobacco that are locally made and consumed throughout India. The common factors of sex, age, ethnic origin, and socioeconomic status showed variation in the pattern of consumption of SLT20. The smokeless tobacco industry is actively engaged in the production of larger number of SLT products, which are addictive nicotine containing products21. Nicotine itself and tobacco-specific N-nitrosamines are actively involved in the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the mouth22,23.

Increasing product labelling as a means of increasing public awareness holds significant policy implications, including sustained investment in evidence-based mass media campaigns as part of a comprehensive tobacco control strategy24. This should be taken further in light of the evidence that the enactment of smoke-free legislation has been associated with an increased consumption of smokeless tobacco among adolescent males25.

The taxes on SLT products remain low compared to smoking cigarette products in Bangladesh and the amendment made in Tobacco Control Law in 2013 requires graphic health warnings to cover 50% of SLT packaging, a ban on advertisement of SLT products, and restriction of sales to minors26. The increased use of smokeless tobacco products is directly proportional to cessation of smoking. The increasing prices of SLT products, which have doubled, may indirectly discourage people from using SLT products27. A similar increase in tobacco consumption is occurring globally, with a concomitant increase in tobacco-related deaths and diseases28.


This pilot study has a number of limitations due to its specific geographical representation and cross-sectional pack study design. Further research is needed with a broader study area to be able to obtain generalisable results.


Smokeless tobacco represents an addictive product in need of specific regulation. The Indian government has enforced tobacco control laws like COTPA ACT 2003 and introduced pictorial health warning labels on packets of SLT products, which are important to protecting public health. As identified by their list of reported ingredients, use of smokeless tobacco products pose a significant health risk, hence the continuation and further strengthening of health warning labels on smokeless tobacco products should be encouraged.