The Delhi government has taken a major stand against health hazards by banning 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.
Yesterday the Department of Food Safety issued a notification in this issue. 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.
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.