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Category Archives: Gutkha a silent killer

Delhi HC directs Delhi Govt to implement smokeless tobacco products ban

In a PIL filed by Doctors for You (DFY) — a partner of Voice of Tobacco Victims — against the state of Delhi for failing to ban gutkha and other chewing tobacco products. Gutkha, zarda, pan masala, gul, bajjar and such other toxic and addictive forms of chewing tobacco are mandated to be banned by various states, as per  Regulation 2.3.4 of the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restrictions on Sales) Regulations, 2011 made under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006. The court was pleased to pass an order directing the Delhi Government to implement Regulation 2.3.4 within two weeks.

The PIL was on board on August 22, 2012. Advocate Varun Chopra appeared on behalf of  Doctors for You.

Media Coverage:

MLA sensitization to Gutka in Karnataka

MLA sensitization & GATS Factsheet release in Karnataka

MLA sensitization & GATS Factsheet release in Karnataka

On July 24, 2012: The Institute of Public Health, Bangalore, in collaboration with the Voice of Tobacco Victims, the District Anti Tobacco cell (Bangalore Urban) and Government of Karnataka organized one hour program on MLA sensitization and GATS fact sheet release in the Hall of the Legislative Assembly of Karnataka. This was attended by the Chief Minister, Chairman of the Legislative Council, Minister of Law and Parliamentary Affairs, Leader of Opposition, Govt of Karnataka, Minister of Medical Education, around 30 legislators and some bureaucrats.

Dr Vishal Rao facilitated VoTV members (cancer patients) in addressing  the gathering and explaining their suffering due to tobacco addiction. The stressed the need for governments to implement tobacco control policies and gutka ban to prevent deaths and suffering from tobacco use. The Chief Minister of Karnataka officially released the GATS fact sheet in presence of other dignitaries. He then addressed the gathering highlighting GATS (Global Adult Tobacco Survey) findings and reiterating his government’s commitment to advance tobacco control in the state.

Over 22 stories appeared in print media. Two TV Channels broadcasted the program live.

More info:

Gutka & Pan Masala Banned in Chhattisgarh

Chhattisgarh has now been added to the list of States banning gutka under Food Safety and Standard Regulation 2011. The order banning gutka and pan masala containing tobacco and nicotine as an ingredients was signed and issued by the State Food Commissioner on July 25, 2012.

Click here to view the order

Jammu & Kashmir MLAs Sensitized to Tobacco & Gutka

Voluntary Health Association in collaboration with Voice of Tobacco Victims organized an MLA sensitization program in Srinagar on July 18, 2012. Hon’ble Chief Minister and the Speaker chaired the session and there were 40 legislative members. Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, Oncologist from Tata Memorial Hospital, conducted a VoTV event. Seema Gupta from Voluntary Health Association of India gave presentation on issues of tobacco in J&K. The CM and Speaker assured support for tobacco control and to save lives in J&K.

Civil Society Lauds UP Govt for Hiking Tax on Tobacco Products

VoTV and Voluntary Health Association of India (VHAI), New Delhi and Uttar Pradesh Voluntary Health Association organized a press conference on 11th July, 2012 at UP Press Club, Lucknow. The conference was organized to appreciate the Uttar Pradesh government for sharply hiking taxes on tobacco products.  Health Minister Ahmad Hasan was present.

Ashima Sarin (Project Director, VoTV), VoTV members (Dilip Kumar, Sunil Handa), Binoy Mathew (Media Officer, VHAI), JP Sharma (Executive Director, UPVHA), Dr Sudhir Kapoor (IDA), Prof. Ramakant thanked the Government, Akhilesh Yadav, Jawed Usmani, Ahmad Hasan and others, for raising taxes on tobacco products in Uttar Pradesh.

News Report

Anti-tobacco groups applaud gutka ban in six states

Six states have banned gutka and other chewable tobacco products. The anti-tobacco lobby is calling it a major victory. While the country is fighting the larger battle to ban gutka, Sarfabad in Uttar Pradesh has become the third village to go tobacco free. The Panchayat there decided to ban gutka after several young people succumbed to critical diseases.

A villager, Sukhbir Singh, said, “There is a Rs 1,000 fine on anyone who sells gutka and a Rs 500 fine on anyone who eats it.”

Almost a year since the new Food Safety law banned foods with tobacco and nicotine content, six states have banned gutka, khaini and pan masala.

Madhya Pradesh took the first step followed by Kerala and Bihar. Maharashtra banned both gutka and pan masala. After Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan, Haryana is expected to ban gutka soon and Goa had already banned it under the public health act.

Public health experts say it is a huge health relief, as India battles 80,000 new oral cancer cases every year.

Pankaj Chaturvedi of Tata Memorial Hospital, said, “India is the highest producer of mouth cancers. Apart from that there are several precancerous conditions like Submucous fibrosis in which the mouth of the person doesn’t open.”

Srinath Reddy of the Public Health Foundation of India said, “It’s not just the nicotine, the heavy metals are particularly dangerous and this has been found to be in high quantities in gutka.”

Till about a year ago, gutka reigned as a Rs 20,000 crore industry. But now the gutka industry is admitting to losses, and argues that gutka should not be considered as food at all.

Sanjay Bechan, Executive Director, Smokeless Tobacco Federation of India, “The industry is deteriorating once the Supreme Court banned packaging. We were reduced to almost 60 per cent of our size and now this ban by states. Since states are banning, we have suffered losses. Gutka is a scheduled tobacco product. So my legal position is very clear, I am not food, I am tobacco. It’s unscientific and undemocratic of the government to ban gutka.”

Yet, 5 million children in India are already addicted to oral tobacco and more than 5,000 start using gutka every day.


Gutka Ban — Govts of MP, Kerala, Bihar, Maharashtra, Rajasthan & Haryana move to save lives

The governments of Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Bihar, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Haryana have taken a laudable step by implementing the ban on Gutka and Pan Masala (with tobacco) under section 2.3.4 of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India.

These State Governments have shown firm commitment and concern for the health of population. VoTV members (cancer patients) from across India applauded the Governments and appealed to the other states to implement the ban on smokeless tobacco products to save lives from this preventable cause of death.

Ban Orders:

Maharashtra bans sale of gutka & pan masala

Maharashtra State government banned the production, sale, distribution and storage of gutkha and pan masala. The decision was taken at a Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan. The ban on gutkha and pan masala will result in revenue loss of Rs 100 crore per year for the State exchequer, but the decision has been taken in larger public interest, Cabinet sources said. Minister for Food & Drug Administration Manohar Naik said that the decision will be announced in the State Legislature on Thursday.

Maharashtra has joined a handful of states, including Kerala and Madhya Pradesh, to ban gutkha, which causes oral diseases and cancers.

The State had imposed a ban on the two products in 2002 as well, but the decision could not pass legal scrutiny. Five years later, in 2007, the State again attempted to ban gutkha, but was thwarted by high court stay orders.

This time around, the ban will be enforced under Section 30 (2) (A) read with regulation 2, 3 and 4 punishable under Section 58 of the Food Safety and Standards Act.

For detailed news, click here

Maharashtra’s Teen cancer victim Roshan Wankhede hails gutka ban

Roshan Wankhede (18) would have passed his HSC exams this year, but for the fact that he had to undergo surgery for removal of nearly half of his upper jaw. Roshan has been suffering from last-stage mouth cancer for over a year.

Roshan was 13 years old when he started chewing tobacco because of peer pressure. A sachet or two occasionally soon turned to seven to eight sachets a day. “I wanted to do what all my friends did. Of the 50 students in our class, 10 used to consume paan masala. It was all for fun,” said the Amravati resident. “My parents didn’t know that I had this habit,” he said.

What started as small ulcers developed into full-fledged cancer on the roof of Roshan’s mouth within months. Local doctors advised him to go to Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai, as they were sure that the problem was more than just ulcers.

For detailed news, click here

For Minister Satish Pednekar & Malegaon-ka-Superman, gutkha ban comes too late

Shaikh Shafique, the 23-year-old factory worker who vowed to end the tobacco menace in the low budget film Malegaon ka Superman that won accolades at film festivals, lost his own battle against oral cancer last year.

Sixty-year-old Congressman Satish Pednekar, who was Maharashtra’s home and labour minister, died of oral cancer last year. He was addicted to mawa, a mix of chewing tobacco and paan masala.

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