Alarmed over the rising number of cancer cases, especially oral cancer, in Jammu and Kashmir, an NGO has appealed to the state government to ban gutka and other chewable food products containing tobacco and nicotine.
J&K Voluntary Health Association has asked the state government to show its commitment towards greater health concerns of the citizens of the state and take steps during the forthcoming autumn session of the state assembly to ban gutka and other such products.
"A fervent appeal is made to the state government to take adequate measures during the assembly session to ban gutka and other chewable food products containing tobacco and nicotine," executive director of the NGO Ali Mohammad Mir said.
"This would be a milestone and progressive step towards making J-K a tobacco-free state," Mir added.
Expressing concern over consumption of tobacco products in the state, the NGO said even children and young adolescents have access to these products as they are freely available at affordable cost at every nook and corner.
"The impact can be seen in the form of rising number of cancer cases, especially oral cancer in the state," it said.
According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey - India Report 2009-10, among 26.6 per cent adult tobacco users in J-K, 8% exclusively use smokeless form of tobacco, the NGO said.
Pertinently, 14 states across India have already banned the sale, manufacture and consumption of such products.