BACKGROUND:This project will use a multilevel longitudinal cohort study design to assess whether changes in Community Tobacco Environmental (CTE) factors, measured as community compliance with tobacco control policies and community density of tobacco vendors and tobacco advertisements, are associated with adolescent tobacco use in urban India. India's tobacco control policies regulate secondhand smoke exposure, access to tobacco products and exposure to tobacco marketing. Research data about the association between community level compliance with tobacco control policies and youth tobacco use are largely unavailable, and are needed to inform policy enforcement, implementation and development. METHODS:The geographic scope will include Mumbai and Kolkata, India. The study protocol calls for an annual comprehensive longitudinal population-based tobacco use risk and protective factors survey in a cohort of 1820 adolescents ages 12-14 years (and their parent) from baseline (Wave 1) to 36-month follow-up (Wave 4). Geographic Information Systems data collection will be used to map tobacco vendors, tobacco advertisements, availability of e-cigarettes, COTPA defined public places, and compliance with tobacco sale, point-of-sale and smoke-free laws. Finally, we will estimate the longitudinal associations between CTE factors and adolescent tobacco use, and assess whether the associations are moderated by family level factors, and mediated by individual level factors. DISCUSSION:India experiences a high burden of disease and mortality from tobacco use. To address this burden, significant long-term prevention and control activities need to include the joint impact of policy, community and family factors on adolescent tobacco use onset. The findings from this study can be used to guide the development and implementation of future tobacco control policy designed to minimize adolescent tobacco use.