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.

Posts Under Tag: Dr PC Gupta

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

How Voice Of Tobacco Victims (VOTV) was Born on 31st May 2008

“Voice Of Tobacco Victims” is the brainchild of Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, Associate Professor, Tata Memorial Hospital. He always wondered how a cancer causing substance, that kills millions every year, be sold so freely and advertized so brazenly. He was disturbed by the sight of ever increasing number of young cancer patients visiting his cancer clinic every day. Most of them, owing to advanced stage, died within 5 years of diagnosis. Those who survived, lived with severe depression, dejection, disfigurement and disability.

Rather than being a silent witness of a crime and wait for someone else to find a solution, he decided to spend some time in tobacco control activities. He planned to make tobacco victims as the public face of the war on tobacco. He decided to help tobacco victims get justice and help them raise a war cry against the very industry that they patronized for decades. He envisaged that no one can withstand this formidable force that is driven by pure passion. His idea was supported by Dr PC Gupta and Dr Surendra Shastri of Action Council Against Tobacco India. Finally, this experiment began on 31st May, 2008 with a small group of 10 cancer patients of Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi. The experiment proved immensely successful… these cancer patients shocked the media and audience with their grit and determination. They have only one aim for their countrymen “ This is what tobacco did to us, we want to save others!”

1.    The first meeting of VoTV happened on 31st May 2009 in Tata Memorial Hospital. The impact of this meeting could be gauged from the fact that it was covered by 36 news papers including the most popular one. For more details

2.    Inspired after the meeting, one of the members filed a compensation Suit against formidable Indian Tobacco Company (originally BAT) for 10 million rupees. He is a larynx cancer patient whom I treated 2 years back. Despite ITC’s powerful legal team, the case did not get rejected. Several other members have filed for compensation in local consumer redressal forums  all over the country.
Mumbai Mirror Link 01

Mumbai Mirror Link 02

Mumbai Mirror Link 03

3.    In September, 2010 during National Congress on Tobacco & Health at Mumbai, the VoTV members cornered the Health Minister and presented them a Charter of Demands and a huge canvas with more than thousand signatures. This event was published in 16 news papers including the prominent ones.  See the news coverage

4.    Many members have started their own mini campaigns at village levels and district level with their own innovative ideas which has given it as shape of nationwide campaign with great media coverage. See the news coverage

5.    VoTV members, wrote letters to celebs who endorse Tobacco product. Such letters from cancer patients has led to a sharp decline in celeb endorsement. One such example is – Sanjay Dutt says no to gutka, tobacco endorsements

6.    VoTV members condemned the senior politicians who represent Tobacco Industry as advocates – See the news coverage

7.    VoTV members worked with the media to condemn the government for delay in pictorial warning and their views got published in several news papers See the news coverage

8.    VoTV members condemned the government for offering top government honor to the Chairman of Indian Tobacco Company – See the news coverage

9.    Shri Devendra Singh, a VoTV member, spearheaded a campaign where Tobacco Victims participated in anti-corruption campaign in New Delhi. This got a huge media coverage. – See the news coverage
For more news coverage –
See the news coverage Link 01
See the news coverage Link 02
See the news coverage Link 03

10.    VoTV members partcipated in a unique campaign along with Directors of the Regional cancer centers in several states of India on 31st May, 2011. These Directors are opinion leaders of oncology in India. Seventeen such Directors wrote letters to the Prime Minister and Health minister to ban Gutka and Pan Masala in India. This campaign had a dramatic impact on Media and Society at large. This activity was covered by 27 leading news papers of different states. One such coverage

11.     With World Lung foundation VoTV members developed a powerful Television campaign on smokeless tobacco showing a 24 years boy who died of throat cancer while the campaign was still running – See the news coverage

12.    VoTV members also consented to participate in a hugely popular online campaign, with World Lung Foundation and several other NGOs, against smokeless tobacco – See the news coverage

13.    Three of the VoTV members are also volunteered to become interventions in the ongoing Supreme Court Case against Gutka/Pan Masala. See the news coverage

14.    Most of the VoTV members have emerged as strong health advocates in their local community educating people about early signs of cancer, diagnosis, treatment etc.

15.    They have been participating in most of the tobacco control meetings as important stakeholders. For example, VoTV members attended the music release of Shaan at Tata Memorial Hospital – See the news coverage

16.    VoTV members have also been participating alongside doctors in BBC world service media workshops. It is noticeable that their presence offers an additional impact to media coverage.

17.    Lobbying with Members of Parliament and the policy makers – On, 11th February and 17th March, the VOTV members held a meeting in New Delhi which turned out to be the “mother of all meeting”. They shared their plight with Ministers, Bureaucrats, media, public in a very emotional way. These meetings not only sensitized the media and policy makers but also sensationalized the issue of smokeless tobacco. The media response was beyond expectations.


To know more about the activity on 11th February, 2011
To know more about the acticity on 17th March 2011

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

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