GUWAHATI: Assam Government has prohibited the manufacture, distribution, sale, transportation, display of Gutkha, and Pan masala and chewing material containing tobacco and nicotine in the state of Assam. “Food and Safety Department under regulation 2,3,4 of the Food and Safety Standard (Prohibition and Restriction on Sales) Regulations, 2011 R/W Section 26 of Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, prohibits food in which tobacco or nicotine are used as ingredients, as they are injurious to human health. In pursuance of Regulation of 2,3,4 of the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restrictions on Sales) Regulation, 2011, the manufacture, storage, transportation, display, distribution or sale of gutka, pan masala or any chewing material containing tobacco or nicotine as ingredients available in the market, are hereby prohibited in the state of Assam for a period of one year under clause (a) of Sub-section 2 of Section 30 of Food Safety and Security Act, 2006 in the interest of public health with immediate effect,” the notification read Consumers’ Legal Protection Forum, Assam and Consumer VOICE, New Delhi reacted positively to the government’s notification for supporting the initiative of banning chewing tobacco, Gutkha and pan masala.
In their statement, they thanked the Assam state government for their efforts in tobacco control intervention to save millions of lives. Terming this as long overdue, they stated that this curb will help citizens in overcoming cancer and other dreaded diseases. Dr. Amal Chandra Kataki, Director of Dr. B Borooah Cancer Institute says “This initiative of Govt. of Assam to ban Gutkha, Pan Masala etc. in the State of Assam is a significant initiative in view of the high prevalence of tobacco consumption (48.2%) in the State of Assam. It is single major important risk factor for cancer. It is also responsible for cardiovascular disease to stroke, chronic respiratory disease etc”.
Advocate Ajoy Hazarika, Secretary, CLPF says “The rise in number of tobacco users especially smokeless is a cause of worry because it is easily accessible to children and youth. We are working in the state through our programmes to protect the public, especially youth and children from exposure to tobacco use.”