Sale, purchase and storage of all forms of chewable tobacco, including gutkha, pan masala, khaini and zarda, would be continuing the ban, for another one year, the Delhi government says.
Announcing the same through a notification, the food safety department clarified that, the unpackaged products of chewable tobacco, too, would come under the ban.
One of the senior officials said, “The previous notification had expired, so we have reissued it. This will allow us to act against all violators.”
Responding to the issue, president of the World Lung Foundation, Dr G L Khatri said, since 2012, in Delhi, the enforcement of the gutkha ban, had been poor due to several reasons.
“First, the manufacturers tried to bypass the law by selling raw tobacco and supari in separate sachets and later they went to court seeking a stay on any coercive action. Hopefully, this time the government will manage to keep aside these hurdles to implement the law to save lives,” he said. Raw chewable tobacco products include khaini and zarda.
To implement the tobacco ban strictly, sub-divisional magistrates and the district medical officers may be included in the drive, the government claims.
Those found guilty of selling chewable tobacco products can be imprisoned up to six months or fined up to Rs 3 lakh, or both.
Especially, Gutkha among the other tobacco products, can cause oral, throat and esophageal cancer.
Speaking on the same, Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, head and neck surgeon at Tata Memorial Hospital, says that, tobacco products cause 90% of all mouth cancers in India.
“It is a major cause of all cancer-related deaths. An effective ban is a must to save people,” he said.
According to the survey, nearly 10.5% of the adults in Delhi, consume smokeless tobacco products.
By Phani Ch