Odisha follows in the footsteps of states that have banned gutkha

More than 43 per cent people in the state consume tobacco in one form or other

By Kundan Pandey
Published: Wednesday 02 January 2013

The Odisha government has banned the sale and manufacture of gutkha and paan masala. Seventeen other Indian states and Union territories have already banned chewing tobacco on health grounds.

State health minister Damodar Rout announced the curb on gutkha products. He said the government would issue required notification under the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restrictions on Sales) Regulations, 2011, in two to three days.

Odisha has a large number of chewing-tobacco consumers. According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS), more than 43 per cent of the population in Odisha uses chewing tobacco in one form or other. The state also has high cancer incidence which can be attributed to tobacco consumption. Over 10,000 new oral cancer patients are admitted to hospitals every year in Odisha.

Speaking to Down To Earth, Odisha's deputy secretary for health, K Mishra, said once the notification is issued (probably on Wednesday) the state government will organise a meeting of officials of district administrations and police department to discuss how to implement the ban effectively.

Fifteen states—Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Bihar, Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, Gujarat, Punjab, Uttarkhand, Mizoram, Delhi, Sikkim and one Union territory, namely Chandigarh, have already banned the sale, manufacture and distribution of gutkha, khaini, paan masala containing tobacco. Goa banned gutkha products much earlier.

According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey, India, the estimated number of tobacco users in the country is 274.9 million of whom 25.9 per cent are users of smokeless tobacco while 5.7 per cent are cigarette smokers and 9.2 per cent smoke bidis. This reveals that more Indians (almost 75 per cent) consume smokeless forms of tobacco which includes paan, gutkha, paan masala, khaini and mawa. Use of chewing tobacco is also dangerously high, with 8 per cent of all adults in the country chewing gutkha.

WHO global report: mortality attributable to tobacco

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