Delhi govt bans chewable tobacco
The Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi has banned the sale, purchase and storage of all forms of chewable tobacco for a period of 1 year. In a notification issued by the Department of Food Safety, the ban also covers the unpackaged products of chewable tobacco. The government has also decided to run an awareness campaign about the health hazards of tobacco.
What is chewable tobacco?
Chewable tobacco is a type of smokeless tobacco which comes in various forms such as gutka, khaini, snus, mawa, pan masala, zarda, etc. It is a mild stimulant which is consumed by sucking and chewing after placing a pinch of it between the cheek and the gum. It is highly addictive and a major cause of oral cancer in the country.
Delhi government bans gutka
The Delhi government had banned the manufacture, distribution, transportation, display, sale, purchase and storage of gutka in the national capital in September 2012. The ban was imposed based on the regulations of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) issued on 1st Aug'11 which prohibit the addition of nicotine or tobacco to food. In Delhi, about 10% of adults consume smokeless tobacco.
HC refuses to stay ban on gutka
The ban was challenged in the Delhi High Court by the Delhi-based gutka manufacturers. However, the HC refused to stay the ban on gutka.
Retailers work around the ban
The tobacco retailers found a way around the ban. The ban notification had used the word 'gutka' which is a mixture of beetle nut and raw tobacco among other things. Hence, the retailers started selling the components of gutka in separate pouches thus defeating the very purpose of the ban. However, the new AAP government banned all forms of chewable tobacco from 30th Mar'15.
HC stays the notification banning chewable tobacco
The Delhi high court stayed the ban notification and asked the Delhi government not to take any coercive actions against tobacco sellers. The tobacco manufacturers had told the court that the tobacco products were being manufactured under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003 (COTPA). Since COTPA is a central law, the state government cannot regulate the sale or ban tobacco products.
Cigarette and bidis not banned
The ban notification only includes chewable tobacco and does not ban cigarettes and bidis.Share this timeline