The Delhi government has banned for one year the sale, purchase and storage of all forms of chewable tobacco, including guktha, pan masala, khaini and zarda, in the national capital. The Department of Food Safety yesterday issued a notification in this regard.
According to the notification, unpackaged products of chewable tobacco, too, are covered under the ambit of the ban.
The manufacture, storage, distribution, or sale of tobacco which is either flavoured, scented or mixed and whether going by the name or form of gutka, pan, masala, flavoured/scented tobacco, kharra, or otherwise. Whether packaged or unpackaged and/or sold as one product, or though packaged as separate products, sold or distributed in such manner so as to easily facilitate mixing by the consumer is prohibited for a period of one year, the notification stated.
Health department officials said a notification was issued by Delhi government in September, 2012, in pursuance of a series of directions from Supreme Court for a ban on ‘gutkha’ in the city.
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But since the term ‘gutkha’ was used in that notification, tobacco retailers started selling the components of ‘gutkha’ (betel nut and raw tobacco) in separate pouches, thus defeating the purpose behind the ban on gutkha.
The health department had, therefore, come up with a new proposal for banning all raw chewable tobacco products in Delhi, a senior official said.
Highly addictive and a known carcinogen, gutkha is the subject of much controversy in India. Many states have sought to curb its immense popularity by taxing sales of gutkha heavily or by banning it outright. Excessive gutkha use can eventually lead to loss of appetite, promote unusual sleep patterns, and loss of concentration along with other tobacco-related problems.