Delhi government decides to ban gutkha

Notification to be issued shortly

By Ankur Paliwal
Published: Monday 10 September 2012

The government of Delhi has decided to ban the sale, manufacture and storage of gutkha, a form of chewing tobacco. The decision was taken at a high level meeting in Delhi Secretariat on September 10. The ban would be applicable once the notification is issued, says a press statement released by the state health department.  The ban applies to all the food items containing gutkha and nicotine.

The decision of the Delhi government follows a Delhi High Court order of August 22, asking the state government to ban gutkha

Meanwhile, the ban on gutkha in Gujarat will become effective from September 11. The state’s chief minister, Narendra Modi, had announced ban on gutkha on August 15. A later date was decided to ensure complete disposal of the stock in circulation. According to data with the Union Minsitry of Health and Family welfare, 21.6 per cent people in Gujarat are users of smokeless tobacco.   

If Delhi and Gujarat are included, a total of 13 states have banned gutkha; the other states to do so are Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Bihar, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Haryana, Jharkhand, Punjab, Chandigarh and Mizoram.

The ban is based on the regulation issued on August 1, 2011 by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), a statutory body under the health ministry, to look after food safety. Rule 2.3.4 of the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restrictions on Sales) Regulations of 2011 says that a food product should not “contain any substance which may be injurious to health: Tobacco and nicotine shall not be used as ingredients in any food products.” But the Centre sent letters to all states recommending the ban only on April 25, this year, after Madhya Pradesh took the initiative and banned the sale and storage of gutkha on April 1.

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