HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

Punjab government ban on tobacco products goes up in flames

Satinder Pal Singh, Hindustan Times  Patiala, October 09, 2012
First Published: 21:57 IST(9/10/2012) | Last Updated: 22:01 IST(9/10/2012)

In spite of a Punjab government ban on sale of tobacco products and substance containing nicotine, sale continues unhindered with neither the buyer nor the seller paying any heed to the law.

In fact, most people (especially buyers) claim not to have heard of any law on the subject.

The state government had banned the sale, storage, manufacture and distribution of tobacco products 'gutkas' and 'pan masala' last month.

The consumption of such products is causes cancer of mouth and throat, yet those addicted to such stuff remain oblivious to such risks.

Vendors hide tobacco products inside the shops and pass on the stuff to their regular customers in non-transperent bags and other such methods.

Bus-stands, railways stations , taxi stands and other public places witness such sale of tobacco as a matter of routine.

On being queried, while ignorance was the most common excuse offered, clearnce of stock was also cited as a reason.

"Since I had bought guthka in bulk, I must clear the stock or would lose a lot of money," said a trader.

Another shopkeeper at Lahori Gate did not displacy guthka, but produced them readily on demand. "I don't know about any such ban," he claimed.

When contacted, deputy commissioner GK Singh said: "We have received many complaints and are conducting raids to curb the menace." He said he had directed the administration to take action againt sellers as well as buyers of such products.

Punjab has become the fifth state in the country to impose a ban on sale of tobacco products and other products containing nicotine.

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