Delhi has become the ninth state to impose a total ban on chewing tobacco.
In a meeting with the officials of the department of health and family welfare on Monday, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit banned the sale, purchase, manufacture, transportation, storage and display of chewable forms of tobacco such as gutkha, paan masala, zarda, etc.
The penalty for violating the order will lead to seven years in jail and Rs. 1 lakh fine. Sources said an order will be issued on Tuesday, following which the ban will come into effect.The ban, however, is only on chewing tobacco, not cigarettes and bidis. Chewing tobacco accounts for over half of all tobacco use in India. It also causes oral cancer, the most common form of the disease in India as also the most preventable.
The latest Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) report revealed that 10.5% of adults — 16.7% men and 2.8% women — in Delhi chew tobacco products.
According to Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restrictions on Sales) Regulations 2011, gutkha and other forms of chewable tobacco products should be banned.
The Prevention of Food Department has been authorised to collect samples and register cases against the traders and manufacturers violating the ban.
Eight states, viz Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Haryana, Bihar, Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Goa, have already banned all chewable tobacco products.
Unable to stop the use of plastic bags in the city, the Delhi government may pass a new proposal that will ban not just sale and distribution but also the manufacturing of plastic bags. The proposal will be brought before the cabinet on Tuesday. According to Delhi Pollution Control Committee, despite the ban, plastic bags are still available in the market.