Govt extends gutkha ban to all processed tobacco products | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Govt extends gutkha ban to all processed tobacco products

In a major decision, Maharashtra government has extended the ban on the sale and manufacture of gutkha and paan masala to the sale and manufacture of all types of processed and packaged tobacco products in the state.

mumbai Updated: Jul 23, 2013 09:08 IST
HT Correspondent

In a major decision, the state government has extended the ban on the sale and manufacture of gutkha and paan masala to the sale and manufacture of all types of processed and packaged tobacco products in the state.

This means that your local vendor can’t sell you a paan (betel leaf ) with flavoured tobacco, kaath and lime (edible calcium carbonate), maava or kharra (mix of processed tobacco, betel nut/areca nut and lime), khaini (flavoured tobacco), or any other processed tobacco product.

The ban will be in force till July next year, after which it will come up for renewal. However, the ban does not apply to unprocessed betel nut and tobacco.

“We will start collecting samples from vendors and checking them for the presence of magnesium carbonate, which causes cancer,” said minister of state for the food and drugs administration (FDA), Satej Patil.

On July 19, the state government extended the existing ban for 12 months and made provisions to ban other tobacco products. “New rules have already to come into force,” Patil said.

FDA commissioner Mahesh Zagade said that enforcement agencies would take random samples from vendors to check for traces of magnesium carbonate.

“We cannot check every paan vendor because of staff shortage, so we urge people to stay away from tobacco in view of its serious health hazards.”

Zagde justified relief to unprocessed tobacco: “People have been eating these things (unprocessed betel nut and tobacco) for ages but it did not affect their health as much as processed tobacco products did in the last 25 years.”