Andhra bans gutkha, paan masala

Becomes 17th state in country to impose ban on them

 
By M Suchitra
Published: Monday 17 August 2015

The Andhra Pradesh government on January 9 banned manufacture, storage, sale, transport and distribution of gutkha, paan masala and similar chewable products that contain tobacco and nicotine. The ban has come into force with immediate effect. With this, Andhra Pradesh becomes the 17th state in India to ban tobacco products (see box).

Official orders State   Banned on
Bihar May 30, 2012
Chhattisgarh July 24, 2012
Delhi  September 11, 2012
Goa     October 2, 2005
Gujarat  September 11, 2012
Himachal Pradesh July 13, 2012
Haryana August 15, 2012
Jharkhand July 24, 2012
Kerala  May 25, 2012
Madhya Pradesh April 1, 2012
Maharashtra   July 20, 2012
Rajasthan  July 18, 2012
Punjab August 26, 2012
Mizoram September, 2012
Uttarakhand January 1, 2013
Odisha   January 1, 2013
Andhra Pradesh  January 9, 2013
Civil society organisations and anti-tobacco activists have long been demanding ban on these products because they are highly addictive and can cause cancer. There are 3,095 chemical components in chewing tobacco products, and 28 of them have been proved carcinogenic. Over 90 per cent of oral cancer is directly associated with tobacco use. India has the highest prevalence of oral cancer with 75,000 to 80,000 new cases reported every year. The gutkha and paan masala industry in the country is huge and could be pegged at anywhere between Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 crore.

The ban is under the Food Safety & Standards (Prohibition and Restriction on Sales) Regulations of 2011 and the Food Safety and Standards Act of 2006. Under the Act, the food safety commissioner has the power to prohibit, in the interest of public health, production, sale and distribution of any food item all over the state or in certain regions of the state for a period not exceeding one year. According to this Act, tobacco and nicotine should not be used in any food product. The ban in Andhra Pradesh is based on the recommendations by the food safety commissioner.

Andhra Pradesh is the highest producer of tobacco in the country. In 2011-12, the state grew tobacco in 132,000 hectares and produced 207,000 tonnes. Even while many other states banned gutkha and paan masala, Andhra Pradesh was dragging its feet in taking stern action.

The government has asked the food safety commissioner, departments of health, police, vigilance & enforcement, commercial taxes, transport, labour, municipal administration and the panchayati raj to take immediate steps to ensure enforcement of the ban. The departments of information and public relations and consumer affairs have been asked to widely publicise the ban and create consumer awareness on the ill effects of gutka and paan masala.
 


WHO global report: mortality attributable to tobacco

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