Choose Life, Not Tobacco         |         Smoking is a habit that drains your money and kills your slowly, one puff after another….         |         Smoking helps you to relax… in Death-bed         |         Smoking is injurious not only to you, but for the ones around you also… Quit before it’s late         |         Smoking Leaves an Unseen Scar, it fill your Insides with Toxins and Tar         |         Only a fool would put his lips, at the other end of a burning fie.         |         Irony is, Tobacco companies kill their Best Customers.         |         You’re a Fool, if you think smoking is cool.         |         Tar the Roads, not your lungs.         |         Be brighter, put down the lighter.         |         Put the smoke out, before it put you Out.         |         Who’s going to retire on your hard-earned dollars… You or some tobacco company executive?         |         A Friend in Deed won’t make you smoke that weed.         |         Smokers die young, be smart, don’t start.         |         Every time you light up A cigarette, you are saying that your life isn’t worth Living….        |         Don’t let being on a ventilator ultimate become, the reason you eventually quit smoking. Save lungs while you can.         |         If you can’t stop smoking…. Cancer will.         |         Cigarettes are like Squirrels. They are perfectly harmless until you put one in your mouth and light it on fire.

Category Archives: Gutka pan masala ban

Widows of former tobacco users wrote to the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India to implement larger pictorial warning

Voice of Tobacco Victims (VoTV) led a campaign for pictorial warning with Widows of 5 Tobacco Victims writing a letter to Prime Minister of India Mr. Narendra Modi. This was in continuation with the Pictorial warning that VoTV had done by sending a letter with support of 653 doctors writing to PM.

VoTV celebrated “TambakuDahan” in Bihar


VoTV celebrated “TambakuDahan” on 14th March, 2014 at Muzaffarpur, Sitamarhi, Vaishali and Begusarai districts of Bihar. The movement was backed by Cancer Awareness Society, Indian Medical Association, Rotary Club & IDA. VoTV patrons Dr. V P Singh & Dr. Sobhana Chandra led the initiative.

Doctors, patients and local public participated in the movement. Dr .Pradeep Kumar VoTV patient, said, “This is a team work and efforts for creating greater impact on society with full passion, to eradicate fatal disease like cancer from innocent kids and other people of the society”. Dr. Rajesh Kumar, Dr. Sunil Kr. Sinha & Dr. Sanjay Pankaj talked about cancer. The Movement was very effective and successful.

Media Coverage:

Renotification of Gutka Ban in Andhra Pradesh

Click here for details

Medial Coverage


Malegaon Ka Superman Rebuttal to Adverts issued by Gutka Barons

Malegaon Ka Superman Rebuttal to Adverts issued by Gutka Barons

Malegaon Ka Superman Rebuttal to Adverts issued by Gutka Barons

Why Banning Pan Masala (Not Just Gutka) was Necessary

Mumbai, 8th September 2012: It is wrongly believed that pan masala is a sort of innocent bystander that has become a casualty in the nation’s war against cancer-causing tobacco. Although the Food & Drugs Administration (FDA) of 11 states have banned gutka and pan masala together in a well-reasoned way, the common man thinks that pan masala is a simple mouth-freshener that even children may safely consume. To leave a back door open for the banned gutka industry to make a re-entry in the guise of pan masala, it is being argued in many high courts that pan masalas must not be banned. On 12th September, the Bombay High Court will be hearing the petition filed by the gutka/pan masala industry, seeking to get pan masala excluded from the scope of this ban. This was reported in The Times of India today. One sincerely hopes that the public interest will prevail over commercial interest.

Pan masala is not just an innocent mixture of arecanut cuttings, food flavours and sweeteners. It is a specialized product engineered for causing addiction, and as such, it is an ingenious mix of traditional items and innovative chemicals. New formulations are constantly being developed and introduced on the market to encourage initiation and sustained use of these products, and allied products that deliver higher “highs” to addicts. Inexpensive portion sizes and packaging render these products convenient for people to buy, carry and use, and new flavourings are tried out to appeal to young and old alike. Although these products are promoted as “safe” alternatives to tobacco smoking or chewing, no pan masala is actually safe. In fact, some varieties are more addictive and more harmful than cigarettes.

The similarity in packaging and marketing of gutkha and pan masala is no accident. They all work together as a team. Pan masala initiates unwary people and gets them to set foot on the slippery slope of addiction. Gutka, khaini etc. lie in wait further down that slope.

RMD Rasiklal Manikchand Dhariwal  Pan Masala cancer carcinogen supari

RMD (Rasiklal Manikchand Dhariwal) Pan Masala causes cancer. It is not just a “harmless” flavoured supari. It contains several deadly carcinogens, including some that are artificially added to the ones already present in the Areca nut or Betel nut (Supari) which is the main ingredient.

How does the mystique of pan masala work? Pan masala is based on supari, i.e. arecanut or betelnut, which is a traditional item, and a part of hindu religious ceremonies. In some communities, when the bride’s father accepts the proposal made on the groom’s behalf, he invites the groom’s side to come and have paan-supari. This engagement ceremony is called the supari-taking ceremony. Although the cancer-causing effects of supari are well publicized, it is considered safe, maybe because it is considered auspicious!

And that is one reason why traditional people like Mrs Purnima Dave, aged 36, from Banswara, Rajasthan, are coming into doctors’ clinics with cancer of the mouth, head, neck and voicebox. Respectable housewives in villages and cities are less likely to indulge in vices like chewing tobacco or gutka, but they don’t think twice before eating supari or pan masala.


Pan Masala Arecanut Betelnut Supari Cancer Carcinogen Arecholine

Purnima Dave, Cancer Patient, Victim of Pan Masala or Flavoured Supari, which is generally considered safe & harmless

Supari is nearly as dangerous for pregant mothers as alcohol drinking and tobacco chewing. If taken during pregnancy, even the unborn babies are harmed by the chemicals present in supari and pan masala. Neonatal withdrawal syndrome is reported in the newborns, and arecoline — a toxic extract of areca nut or supari – is detected in the placenta and the stools of the fetus (called meconium). Arecoline stimulates the mother’s central nervous system, reducing blood flow to the fetus. The chemicals and heavy metals present in the areca nut causes abortion, premature delivery, lower birth weight and reduced birth length.

When taken by women who are trying to concieve, supari and pan masala reduces fertility and likelihood of conception. In men, pan masala ingredients damage the testes and the sperms. A study conducted by A Kumari, B N Mojidra and others at the National Institute of Occupational Health, Ahmedabad, assessed the damage caused by pan masala to the male reproductive system in mice. Swiss albino male mice were randomly divided into 7 groups receiving either standard control diet or pan masala-containing diet. Three doses (0.5%, 1.5% and 3%) of pan masala plain (PMP) as well as pan masala with tobacco (PMT) gutkha were given for a period of 6 months. Sperm count and production were significantly decreased in both PMP- and PMT-treated groups. Both gutkha as well as panmasala plain were found to cause testicular damage, plus increase in sperms with abnormal shapes.


The ban order by Maharashtra Food and Drugs Administration dated 19 July 2012 highlights the risk posed by Magnesium Carbonate present in pan masala, which leads to hyper magnesia, and sometimes cardiac arrest.

Read Maharashtra’s ban order:

Even pan masala brands marketed as “tobacco-free” contain high levels of nicotine, as revealed by a study commissioned by the Ministry of Health. While gutkha, zarda and khaini are known to contain some tobacco and are sold as such (their manufacturers don’t claim zero-tobacco content), pan masala makers promote and advertise their products as “100 per cent tobacco-less”, as they are subject to review under the 1955 rules of the Prevention of Food Adulteration (PFA) Act.

But look at the reality: laboratory analysis of randomly picked pan masala brand samples by the Central Tobacco Research Institute (CTRI), Rajahmundry, Andhra Pradesh has revealed that Rajnigandha pan masala contains 2.26 gm of nicotine per 100 gm of pan masala. This was actually more than Goa 1000 Gutkha brand, which was found to have 2.04 gm of nicotine per 100 gm of the product. Manikchand’s Gutkha RMD contained 1.88 gm nicotine. Chaini Khaini contained 0.58 gm of nicotine while Raja Khaini had 1.02 gm of nicotine per 100 gm of the smokeless product.

A parallel study by the Food Research and Standardisation Lab, Ghaziabad under the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) showed that Rajnigandha pan masala contained exceptionally high nicotine levels.

In all the tested samples, pH levels were found to be carefully fine-tuned to facilitate rapid absorption of nicotine into the blood, delivering to the consumer the desired kick. The intention is clearly to make pan masalas highly addictive to one-time users and repeat-users alike.

In the words of Prakash C Gupta, Director, Healis – Sekhsaria Institute for Public Health, Navi Mumbai, “The chewing of betel quid without tobacco was not perceived as a public health problem until recently. The situation changed drastically with the advent of Pan Masala and Gutkha. These products were specifically targeted and marketed to the young. As a result, prevalence of use has increased among young individuals as has the prevalence of oral squamous fibrosis.” Combined with Indian social habits (such as traditionally offering supari or pan masala as ‘mukhwas’ or mouth-fresheners after meals), these products are deadly. Pan masala and gutka have a very high cancer burden, equalling or exceeding the cancer burden of smoking.

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For more details and contacts, Contact Ms. Ashima Sarin, Project Director, Voice of Tobacco Victims — +91-8860786604

11 राज्यों ने गुटका एवं पान मसाले पर प्रतिबन्ध लगाना आवश्यक क्यों समझा

10 सितम्बर, 2012, मुम्बई: मिलिये 28 वर्ष के राजकमल प्रजापति से, जो नौकरी करने के साथ साथ बी.एड. की पढाई भी जारी रखे हुए है। वे विवाहित हैं और उनकी दो बेटियाँ हैं, राजकमल उत्तर प्रदेश के नामालूम से जालौन जिले के उरई कस्बे में रह रहे थे जब तक वे कैंसर की चपेट में नहीं आए थे। इस समय राजकमल मुम्बई के टाटा मेमोरिअल अस्पताल में हैं जहां पर उनकी जीभ और टॉन्सिल के काफी भागों को 26 अगस्त 2012 को हटा दिया गया। अब वे रेडियो थेरेपी की चुनौतियों का सामना करने के साथ फिर से बोलना सीख रहे हैं। यह पिछले केवल तीन सालों में उनके लिए गुटखा चबाने और सिगरेट पीने का नतीजा है!

Rajkamal Prajapati of Uttar Pradesh, Gutka Addiction Victim, oral cancer patient

उरई, उत्तर प्रदेश के राजकमल

राजकमल से विपरीत कोलकता में दिहाड़ी करने वाले 65 साल के मजदूर रमेश चौधरी, लगभग चालीस सालों से खैनी खा रहे थे और बीडी पी रहे थे; उनकी पत्नी सविता ने भी शादी के बाद से इसे नियति मां समझकर स्वीकार कर लिया। उन्हें हाल ही में स्वरयंत्र का कैंसर पता चला। दो सप्ताह पहले उनकी घबराई पत्नी सविता उन्हें मुम्बई लेकर आई क्योंकि वह बडी कठिनाई से सांस ले पा रहे थे। 27 अगस्त को टाटा मेमोरिअल के सर्जन ने उसका स्वरतंत्र हटा दिया और अब वह अपने गले में किये छेड़ से सांस लेता है और भविष्य की ओर चिंतिंत रहता है।

Ramesh Chowdhury, Chewable Tobacco Gutka & Bidi victim, Kolkata at Tata Memorial Hospital

कोलकता के रमेश और सविता चौधरी

सविता और राजकमल ने मुख्यमंत्री – ममता बनर्जी तथा अखिलेश यादव – को गुटखे पर तत्काल प्रतिबंध लगाने की मांग करते हुए एक चिट्ठी लिखी। कई तम्बाकू पीड़ित भी अब ”वोईस ऑफ़ टोबॅको विक्टिम्स” जो कैंसर सर्जन, अस्पतालों तथा गैर सरकारी संगठनों का राष्ट्रव्यापी नेटवर्क है, द्वारा प्रोत्साहित होकर मुख्यमंत्रियों तथा सांसदों को पत्र लिख रहे हैं।

कुछ कैंसर सर्जन अपनी पूरी ज़िंदगी में जीभ, जबड़े, स्वरयंत्र तथा तम्बाकू खाने वालों के छाती के अंगों को निकल कर थक चुके हैं जिससे व्यक्ति शारीरिक तथा सामाजिक रूप से विकलांग हो जाता है, जबकि मुनाफ़ा कमाने वाली तम्बाकू कंपनियां उन्हें जहर खिलाना जारी रखे हुए हैं। वे इस तथ्य को पचा नहीं पाते कि अपने पेशे के चक्कर में वे कितनी संख्या में अपंग व्यक्ति पैदा कर रहे हैं।

सर्जन इस तथ्य पर भरोसा ही नहीं कर पा रहे हैं कि आज मुंह से होने वाला कैंसर, इंसान का सबसे बड़ा दुश्मन बन गया है, यह देश में कैंसर से पीड़ित 42% पुरुषों की मृत्यु का वहीं 18.5% महिला कैंसर पीड़ितों की मृत्यु का कारण बना। ये आंकड़े एक विख्यात चिकित्सीय पत्रिका द लैंसेट में अग्रणी भारतीय सर्जनों द्वारा प्रकाशित एक अनुसंधान पेपर के अनुसार पुरुषों में 84,000 मौतों तथा महिलाओं में 36,000 मौतों की भयावह तस्वीर प्रस्तुत करते हैं। इस मिथक के विपरीत कि धुआं रहित तम्बाकू सिगरेट की तुलना में कम हानिकारक होती है, यह अध्ययन बतलाता है कि फेफड़े के कैंसर से होने वाले मौतों की तुलना में तम्बाकू से होने वाकी मौतों की संख्या दोगुनी है।

और चूंकि मुंह का कैंसर केवल एक ही मुख्य बीमारी है जिससे तम्बाकू चबाने वाले पीड़ित होते हैं, आंकड़े बतलाते हैं कि तम्बाकू से संबंधित मृत्यु तथा अक्षमताएं उपरोक्त आंकड़ों से कई गुना है।

लगभग 19,000 व्यक्ति भोपाल गैस शोकपूर्ण घटना में मारे गए। तम्बाकू से होने वाली मौतें इन आंकड़ों को भी पार करती हैं। यह बहुत ही खतरनाक तथ्य है कि गुटखा, पानमसाला और ऐसे ही कई उत्पाद हर माह पर एक भोपाल गैस शोकपूर्ण घटना के समान होते हैं, या एक भयानक हवाई दुर्घटना रोज के समान। इन उत्पादों को अपना चेहरा देने वाले मलाइका अरोड़ा और संजय दत्त जैसे खूबसूरत लोगों से एकदम विपरीत, ये सर्जन मृत और मरते लोगों को देखते हैं या उन लोगों को जिनकी ज़िंदगी बचाने के लिए उनके जबड़े, जीभ या गालों को हटा दिया है।

अब पूरे भारत में 47 चिकित्सीय पेशेवरों का एक नेटवर्क है जो गुटखा, पानमसाला और अन्य जहरीले उत्पादों को सड़क से फेंकने के लिए कटिबद्ध है और उन्हें इतिहास की किताबों या अजायबघर में में ही रखे जाने के लिए कुछ भी करने के लिए प्रतिबद्ध है। कुछ संपर्क विवरण दिए हैं:

कैंसर सर्जनों की आँखों के माध्यम से और तस्वीरें:

Gutka Tobacco Zarda Chaini Khaini Baba RMD Sanjay-Dutt Malaika Glamour

What the Common Man thinks of Gutka or Chewing Tobacco — Celebs like Sanjay Dutt Malaika

Gutka Tobacco Zarda Chaini Khaini Baba RMD Cancer

What a Cancer Surgeon sees about Gutka Zarda Khaini & other forms of chewing tobacco

कैंसर सर्जन अब अपनी पूरी ताकत हर राज्यों से इन उत्पादों पर प्रतिबंध लगाने पर कर रहे हैं। और नतीजे दिख भी रहे हैं। कड़ी राजनीतिक इच्छा शक्ति का परिचय देते हुए 11 प्रदेश और एक केन्द्र शासित प्रदेश ने गुटखा और अन्य तम्बाकू से संबंधित उत्पाद प्रतिबंधित कर दिए हैं। ये हैं : मध्य प्रदेश, केरल, बिहार, महाराष्ट्र, हिमाचल प्रदेश, हरियाणा, झारखंड, छत्तीसगढ़, गुजरात और पंजाब तथा केंद्र शासित प्रदेश चंडीगढ। दिल्ली प्रशासन भी दिल्ली उच्च न्यायालय के प्रति प्रतिबद्ध है कि वह कुछ दिनों में उचित निर्णय लेगा।

कुछ प्रतिबंध आदेशों को पढ़े

चबाने योग्य तम्बाकू पर प्रतिबंध का कानूनी आधार:

  1. स्वास्थ्य तथा परिवार कल्याण मंत्रालय द्वारा 1 अगस्त 2011को जारी अधिसूचना के बिंदु 2.3.4 (भारतीय खाद्य सुरक्षा तथा मानक प्राधिकरण) में कहा गया है “उत्पादों में कोई भी ऐसा पदार्थ नहीं होना चाहिए हो स्वास्थ्य के प्रति हानिकारक हो: तम्बाकू और निकोटीन को किसी भी खाद्य प्रदार्थ का हिस्सा नहीं बनना चाहिए” इस प्रकार सभी धुंआ रहित तम्बाकू उत्पादजैसे गुटका, खैनी आदि पर प्रतिबंध लगना चाहिए। यह भारतीय खाद्य सुरक्षा तथा मानक अधिनियम 2006 के अनुसार हैं तथा भारतीय खाद्य सुरक्षा तथा मानक प्राधिकरण, स्वास्थ्य मंत्रालय के अंतर्गत हैं।

  2. उच्चतम न्यायालय में स्वास्थ्य और परिवार कल्याण राष्ट्रीय संस्थान द्वारा जमा की गई रिपोर्ट भारत में धुँआ रहित तम्बाकू की वजह से होने वाली हज़ारों लोगों की मृत्यु की भयावह तस्वीर को प्रस्तुत करती है। ये सभी बीमारियाँ केवल ऐसे उत्पादों की बिक्री के प्रतिबंध द्वारा नियंत्रित हो सकती हैं। इस रिपोर्ट को पढ़ें:

  3. गुटखा और पान मसाला निर्माता इस प्रतिबंध से इस आधार पर भागना चाह रहे हैं कि ये उत्पाद भारतीय खाद्य सुरक्षा तथा मानक अधिनियम 2006 के अनुसार वर्णित परिभाषा के अनुसार खाद्य पदार्थ नहीं है तथा इन पर भारतीय खाद्य सुरक्षा तथा मानक अधिनियम 2006 लागू नहीं होता है। वे तर्क देते हैं कि सिगरेट तथा अन्य तम्बाकू उत्पाद (व्यापार व वाणिज्य, उत्पादन, आपूर्ति तथा वितरण के नियमन तथा विज्ञापन पर प्रतिबंध) अधिनियम 2003 COTPA के नम से जाना जाने वाला लागू होता है। और इस प्रकार गुटखा और पान मसाला COTPA के अंतर्गत निगमित तो हो सकते हैं किन्तु वे भारतीय खाद्य सुरक्षा तथा मानक अधिनियम 2006 के अनुसार प्रतिबंधित नहीं हो सकते। किन्तु शुक्र है कि उनका यह कुतर्क उच्चतम न्यायालय को प्रभावित करने में असफल रहा। गोदावंत पान मसाला मामले में उच्चतम न्यायालय ने स्पष्ट रूप से कहा कि “हम इस बात से सहमत नहीं है कि पान मसाला या गुटखा इस अधिनियम की धारा 2(v) के परिभाषा के अनुसार खाद्य पदार्थों में नहीं आता” इस प्रकार यह क़ानून द्वारा निर्धारित है कि गुटखाऔर पान मसाला खाद्य उत्पाद हैं।

  4. यह तो तय है कि “धुंआ रहित तम्बाकू उत्पाद” के निर्माता इस कानूनी युद्ध में न्यायपालिका के पास पुन: जाएंगे। हालांकि जब तक वे संबंधित उच्च न्यायालय से स्टे ऑर्डर नहीं लाते, नियामक 2.3.4. क़ानून है, इसका अर्थ है जी प्रत्येक राज्य में खाद्य और औषधि प्राधिकरण को इस पर तत्काल प्रतिबंध लगा देना चाहिए।

क़ानून की ताकत के अतिरिक्त, नैतिक समर्थन में भी अद्भुत ताकत होती है। संसद के 56 सदस्य, मुख्यमंत्री, राज्यपाल तथा अन्य उच्च पदासीन निर्णय निर्माताओं ने चबाने वाली तम्बाकू के प्रयोग को पूरी तरह बंद करने की अपील पर हस्ताक्षर किए हैं, ताकि राजकमल प्रजापति और रमेश चौधरी जैसे लोग इसके शिकंजे से बच सकें। इस देखें:

प्रकाशन के लिए ज्यादा रेसोल्यूशन वाली तस्वीरें यहां से डाउनलोड की जा सकती हैं:

अधिक जानकारी के लिए कृपया संपर्क करें आशिमा सरीन, प्रोजेक्ट निर्देशक, VoTV +91-8860786604

Why 11 Indian States Banned Gutka & Pan Masala

3 September 2012, Mumbai: Meet Rajkamal Prajapati, aged 28, who was doing a job and studying for his B.Ed. Married, with two young daughters, Rajkamal was living in a little-known town called Orai in Jalaun district, UP, until cancer turned his world upside down. Currently, Rajkamal is in Mumbai’s Tata Memorial Hospital, where large parts of his tongue and tonsils were removed on 26th August 2012. Now he faces the challenges of coping with radiation therapy and relearning to talk again. It’s a steep price to pay for having chewed gutka and smoked cigarettes for only three years!

Rajkamal Prajapati of Orai, UP

Rajkamal Prajapati of Orai, UP

Unlike Rajkamal, Ramesh Chowdhury, a 65-year old daily-wage earner in Kolkata, had been eating khaini and smoking bidis for about four decades; his wife Savita took it as a part of life from the time she married him. He was recently diagnosed with cancer of the voicebox. Two weeks ago, a panic-stricken Savita rushed her husband to Mumbai by train, as he was barely able to breathe. On 27th August, the surgeons at Tata Memorial removed his voicebox. Ramesh now breathes from a hole in his throat, and stares at a bleak future.

Ramesh & Savita Chowdhury of Kolkata

Ramesh & Savita Chowdhury of Kolkata

Savita and Rajkamal have written letters to their chief ministers — Mamata Banerjee and Akhilesh Yadav — urging them to immediately ban tobacco. Scores of tobacco victims are writing to their chief ministers and parliamentarians, encouraged by Voice of Tobacco Victims, which is a nationwide network of cancer surgeons, hospitals and NGOs.

Some cancer surgeons are tired of spending their lives removing tongues, jaws, throats, voiceboxes and chest parts of tobacco addicts – creating a physically and socially handicapped person — while a profit-minded tobacco industry continues to supply the toxins that made them that way. They find it difficult to stomach the fact that while saving lives through amputations, they create thousands of crippled and dependent persons.

The surgeons are finding it difficult to quietly live with the fact that oral cancer is the biggest killer of men, accounting for 42% of all male cancer-related deaths in the country, and 18.5% of female cancer-related deaths. These percentages translate to 84,000 deaths in men and 36,000 in women from tobacco-related cancers in both urban and rural areas, according to a research paper published by leading Indian surgeons in May 2012 in The Lancet, a leading medical journal. Debunking the myth that “smokeless tobacco” is a less-harmful alternative to cigarette smoking, the study states that there are twice as many deaths from oral cancer as lung cancer.

And, since oral cancer is only one of the many killer diseases that tobacco-chewing addicts suffer from, the statistics of tobacco-related deaths and disabilities are actually many multiples of the above-mentioned death toll.

About 19,000 persons died in the Bhopal gas tragedy. Tobacco-related deaths dwarf this fugure. It is a shocking fact that gutka, pan masala and such other products create the equivalent to one Bhopal gas tragedy every couple of months, or one major air-crash every day. Far from the beautiful people like Malaika Arora and Sanjay Dutt who lend their faces to such products, what surgeons see is dead and dying people, or people whose jaw, tongue or cheeks have to be amputated to save their lives.

There is now a network of 47 medical professionals all over India who are committed to seeing that gutka, pan masala and other toxic products are taken off the streets and relegated to the history books and museums. Here are their contact details:

Gutka - What the common man sees

Gutka – What the common man sees

Gutka - What cancer surgeon sees

Gutka – What the cancer surgeon sees

More pictures of gutka through the eyes of cancer surgeons:

Cancer surgeons are now pouring their energy into campaigning for getting their states to ban such products. They are getting results. In a rare display of political will, 11 states and a Union Territory recently banned gutka and other chewing tobacco products. These are Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Bihar, Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat and Punjab, and the union territory of Chandigarh. The Delhi administration too committed to Delhi High Court that it will take a proper decision within a few days.

Read some ban orders:


  1. Point 2.3.4 of the notification issued by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) on 1st August, 2011 says, “Product not to contain any substance which may be injurious to health: Tobacco and nicotine shall not be used as ingredients in any food products.” Hence all smokeless tobacco products such as gutka, khaini, etc stand banned. This is as per Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, and under the authority of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, Ministry of Health.
  2. The report submitted by the National Institute of Health and Family Welfare (NIHFW) to the Supreme Court gives evidence of various fatal diseases caused in millions of people in India by the deceptively named “smokeless tobacco”. These diseases can only be controlled by prohibiting the sale of such products. Read this report:
  3. The gutka and pan masala manufacturers are trying to escape this ban by arguing that these products are not “food” as defined under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, and therefore, the Food Safety and Standards Act is not applicable. They contend that Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 – known as COTPA – is applicable, and therefore, gutka and pan masala may be regulated under COTPA but not banned under Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006. Thankfully, this tenuous argument has failed to convince the Supreme Court. In the Godawat Pan Masala Case, the Supreme Court clearly stated that: “We are… unable to agree with the contention that pan masala or gutka does not amount to “food” within the meaning of definition in Section 2(v) of the Act.” Thus it is settled law that Gutka and Pan Masala are food products.
  4. Of course, manufacturers and distributors of “smokeless tobacco products” may approach the judiciary to fight a last-gasp battle. However, unless and until they get a stay order from the relevant High Court, Regulation 2.3.4. is the law of the land. This means that the Food & Drugs Authority of every state is mandated to implement the ban at the earliest.

In addition to the force of law, there is the great power of moral conviction. 56 Members of Parliaments, Chief Ministers, Governors and other high-profile decision-makers have signed the pledge to curb the use of chewing tobacco, to ensure that unwary people like Rajkamal Prajapati and Ramesh Chowdhury stop becoming mutilated victims. Check it out:


FOR MORE DETAILS, CONTACT Ashima Sarin, Project Director – VoTV – +91-8860786604

Gutka made me a widow. What about my right to livelihood?

To the Editors of prominent national & regional dailies in various states & cities

13 October 2012, Mumbai

Dear Sir,

Despite our protests, your esteemed dailies continue to carry front-page advertisements issued by gutka barons who can afford to pay Rs 30 lakhs for a single insertion in your newspapers. These gutka barons who live in luxurious mansions are crying wolf about the welfare of poor tobacco farmers, factory workers, gutka vendors etc. Sir, on behalf of lakhs of women whose husbands were died of cancer because of gutka addiction, and who cannot afford to issue such grand advertisements, I ask: what about the livelihood of women such as myself who are helpless in the face of the death of their husbands and bread-winners?

About 50 gutka barons are systematically murdering the husbands and breadwinners of lakhs of women like me every year for their own gain. They are actively spreading addiction among our husbands and sons. And now, to escape the ban imposed by 15 states, they whip up public sentiments by shedding crocodile tears about the poor farmers, workers and vendors, whom they exploit decade after decade.

My husband Satish Pednekar died of oral cancer in 2011 at the age of 60, because of his habit of chewing tobacco and pan masala (mawa masala). He was a great man — Maharashtra’s former home and labour minister. He was also a good husband and a wonderful father to our daughters. He had been keeping ill since 2007. His lengthy struggle against cancer ruined us financially and emotionally. Please look at the attached photos of me when my husband was by my side, Sir, and see my happiness. The gutka barons talk about fairness… and therefore I ask you: Is this fair? Tell me what I did to deserve my present grief and bereavement?

Sumitra & Satish Pednekar, former Home & Labour Minister of Maharashtra

In happier times – Late Satish Pednekar with wife Sumitra

Will the gutka barons kindly tell me why they took away my breadwinner, my husband, my life? Will the gutka barons kindly issue an advertisement telling my daughters how sorry they are for depriving them of their father? What about my right to life and livelihood? What about the right of my daughters to have the protection of their father? Why are your newspapers silent about these? Why are you reluctant to publish the true stories of the victims of tobacco?

Sumitra with her late husband Satish Pednekar in happier times

I cherish these photographs, and I cherish the good times we all had with Satish. I am sharing my treasured possessions with you in the earnest hope that they will help you see the light. This series of ads that you persist in publishing is not just a dishonest attempt to justify what cannot be justified. No, it is worse; it is like a slap on the face to me, and to lakhs of women who are in my position. These ads are like a thorn in our eyes!

Sir, please stop insulting us by publishing such blatant ads. In the name of humanity, please stop.

Yours sincerely,

Sumitra S Pednekar


Thank you Meenajee Gutkha, our favourite gutka brand

NB Group’s Meenaji Gutka is popular in Uttar Pradesh & Orissa, as these states haven’t yet banned gutka. Gutka brands like Meenajee, Talab, Kamla Pasand & Pan Parag are freely sold. Cancer patients landing up at Tata Memorial Hospital from UP and Orissa frequently report consuming NB Group’s Meenajee Gutkha. This gutka (ready-to-eat chewing tobacco mix) is sold in variations like Meenajee Mawa Masala, Meenajee Priya Gutkha and Meenaji Mix Gutkha. Two patients with oral cancer who came to Tata Memorial from Orissa made special mention of this brand. This is their tribute to their favourite brand, which they have lovingly  consumed for many years.

Late Minister’s Wife writes to TOI & HT Editors: Gutka Ads are Misinforming Readers

3 October 2012, Mumbai: Dear Sir, In the past few days, readers of the Mumbai and Delhi editions of your esteemed dailies have been targeted by a front-page advertisement issued by the gutka manufacturers’ lobby. I would like to caution you that not only is this ad full of lies and half-truths, but also, it constitutes an in-your-face contempt of court. Through this ad, the gutka industry seeks to raise an outcry against the judgments of six High Courts, including Bombay and Delhi High Court, that have ruled in favour of the ban. Sir, are you aware that by publishing this ad, you are unwittingly made into accomplices in openly defying the judiciary? Have you considered the possibility of Contempt of Court notices being issued against your newspapers and you personally?

Let me introduce myself. I am Mrs Sumitra Pednekar, wife of Maharashtra’s former home and labour minister Satish Pednekar, who died of oral cancer last year. My husband’s illness happened because of his addiction to mawa, a mix of chewing tobacco and pan masala. In his last few months, my husband could not swallow even watery dal-khichdi. My daughters and I are still struggling to come to terms with the scars left by his extended illness and tragic demise.


This ad that you have been publishing appears to be a last-gasp effort of this industry to get popular support for an unjust and inhuman industry that has made many victims like myself. Below is our rebuttal to the untruths that the ad seeks to spread. We urge you to carry this rebuttal prominently to counter the misinformation spread by the ad:

1) This ad claims, “14 states in India believe that cigarettes are healthy”. This is patently untrue because cigarettes sold everywhere are forced to prominently carry a statutory pictorial warning that states that cigarette smoking is injurious to health. There is no state in India where cigarettes are considered “healthy”.

2) The ad argues, “Gutka with lesser tobacco is banned in 14 states, while cigarettes which have more tobacco are not.” This is a deeply flawed argument. Gutka and cigarette are governed by two different legislations. Gutka is a food product containing tobacco, and cigarettes are not a food product. The sale of gutka has been banned under the Food Safety Act 2006 and Food Safety Regulations, whereas cigarettes and bidis are not governed under this act, as they are not food products. They are governed by the provisions of COTPA (Cigarettes & Other Tobacco Products Act). The gutka manufacturers have tried hard to have it classified as “not a food”, but unfortunately for them, gutka was defined as food item by Supreme Court in the Ghodavat Pan Masala case. The license for manufacturing gutka is issued by the food ministry. So, the gutka manufacturers are trying to mislead people by equating gutka (a toxic food product) with cigarette/bidi (a harmful tobacco product that cannot be eaten). Please note, there is no ban on tobacco, which is simply an agricultural crop and a naturally occurring plant material. However, there is a ban on adding this plant material into any food meant for human ingestion, because it is toxic. Food Safety Act bans adding known toxins in food.

3) The ad claims, “One pouch of gutka contains 0.2 g of tobacco, compared to 0.63 g in one cigarette”. This statistic tries to imply that less tobacco is safer. That is incorrect. There is no safe level of tobacco consumption, and it is harmful in any quantity and in all forms. This fact is well recognized by Govt. of India, which is doing a lot to minimize its consumption in all forms.

4) The ad claims, “A cigarette has 4000 chemicals, as opposed to 3000 in smokeless tobacco”. This is a meaningless statistic thrown at half-literate people to mislead them. It has no scientific basis whatsoever.

5) The ad claims, “Unlike cigarettes, gutka is not harmful for others around you”. This is an effort to obfuscate the issue of gutka ban with the second-hand smoking issue. It implies that consuming gutka is a “victimless crime”, and that the gutka-eater is not harming anyone in society. That is untrue. When a person consuming gutka suffers from oral cancer, his entire family is the sufferer; who should know this better than I? In many cases, the cheeks, upper and lower jaws of the gutka consumer are removed. Such a person is unable to eat or speak normally, and must overcome many hurdles to function as in society and in any occupation. The spouse of the gutka addict is a victim of his consumption in economic and social terms. Every gutka addicts who contracts oral cancer creates 4-5 scarred victims created in his family, for whom life will never be the same again. There is no complete cure. Even after surgery and treatment, such people and their families live in the lifelong fear of recurrence. Tata Memorial Hospital is full of such victims, queuing up for treatment and post-surgical checkups.

6) Lastly, the ad claims, “Thousands of small gutka manufacturers are being shut down by the powerful lobby of cigarette companies”. The effort here is to paint the powerful and influential gutka lobby in the colours of a victim. It is most emphatically not a victim, but the perpetrator of a crime against humanity that is at long last being curbed. The in states gutka bans are not happening because of the cigarette lobby, but because of a central legislation, namely the Food Safety Act 2006, which is simply being implemented by the states. It is happening because the government is simply doing its mandated duty to improve the nutritional status of its citizens, by preventing adulterants and toxic substances from being added into foods.

May we once again remind you that the ban on gutka has been imposed after the High Courts of Rajasthan, MP, Bihar, Kerala, Bombay and Delhi applied their mind to the gutka manufacturers’ pleas for stay on the ban, and rejected their pleas? By challenging this ban through advertisements, the gutka manufacturers are treading on extremely dangerous territory… and so are you. In the interest of your readers, and in your own interest, we would urge you not to publish such ads.

With Best Wishes,
Sumitra Satish Pednekar

Phone No.:
+91-22-2757 5487
Correspondence Address:

Sambandh Health Foundation, 1st Floor, Polyclinic, Near Rishi Public School, Sector 31, Gurugram 122001