Substitution plays an important role in determining the triplet state reactivity. In this paper, we have studied the effect of chlorine substitution on the triplet state structure and the reactivity of thioxanthone (TX). We have employed time-resolved resonance Raman technique to understand the structure of the lowest triplet excited state of 2-chlorothioxanthone (CTX). The experimental findings have been corroborated with the computational results using density functional theory. Akin to the parent compound (TX), coexistence of two lowest triplet states has been observed in case of CTX, which has been substantiated using resonant probe wavelength dependence study. The relative contribution of 3n–π* to 3π–π* to the equilibrated triplet state has been found to be more for CTX compared to TX suggesting increase in the triplet state reactivity after the substitution. The above observation has been further supported by the flash photolysis experiments. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.