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: Kerala

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

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.

Source:

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:

Madhya Pradesh becomes First State in India to Ban Gutka

In Madhya Pradesh 31% of the population consumes smokeless tobacco. Months after the Centre’s new food safety law banned tobacco containing products, the Madhya Pradesh Government has been the first state to implement the ban, starting April 2012. Its mandate is very clear, no sale and no manufacture of any food that contains tobacco.

The Madhya Pradesh government has cancelled the licences of 17 gutka manufacturing units and has confiscated tobacco worth over Rs 1 crore, nearly 30 lakh pouches, including Khaini and Zarda.

The move has spurred other states into action, from Bihar where 49 per cent of the population uses smokeless tobacco to Maharashtra where that figure is 28 per cent. Rajasthan, Karnaktaka, Kerala, Jammu and Kashmir and Assam, all are in talks to soon implement the ban on tobacco food products.

News coverage:

CMs of 11 States Pledge Support for Banning Gutka, Khaini, Pan Masala etc.

To fight the growing menace of chewing tobacco products, 11 chief ministers have pledged their support to curb this growing menace in their states. Chief Ministers of Assam, Goa, Punjab, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Arunachal Pradesh, Uttrakhand, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Gujarat agreed to do on behest of victims of oral cancer, doctors and tobacco control advocates of their states. The victims along with oncologists met their respective Chief Ministers and urged them to protect the people of their states from the harmful effects of tobacco products, implementing stringent pictorial warnings, putting an end to indirect advertising, stopping sale near educational institutions, increasing taxation on all tobacco products. Despite the Supreme Court Order banning plastic gutka pouches, the Gutka, pan masala and other smokeless tobacco products are still widely sold in plastic pouches. The enforcement agencies need to take actions against violators.

The Chief Ministers of these states were prompted into action when approached by doctors and victims of oral cancers, on behalf of Voice of Tobacco Victims in their respective states. All the Chief Ministers assured the victims of their commitment by signing a pledge calling for a ban on tobacco products. The pledge states that “I will raise my voice against this issue and support all initiatives to rid India of this menace and help save millions of Indian lives”.

It is heartening that custodians of health of the state have come out openly against tobacco and have pledged their support for tobacco control. We salute all those CMs who have come out openly and urge those whom we could not reach and those who are still not decided about their stand on this issue, to support this initiative to rid India of this menace.

India has the highest number of oral cancer in the world with 75, 000 to 80, 000 new cases of oral cancers a year. Gutka and other forms of chewing tobacco sold in small pouches across the country has become a very serious health hazard. Since Gutka and Pan Masala are marketed as mouth fresheners, its habit starts at a very young age. Due to its flavoured taste, easy availability and low price, it is popular among children, youth and women. Gutkha use is becoming an alternative choice in India as our social mores do not permit children or women to smoke cigarettes.

A recent report by experts of National Institute of Health and Family Welfare (NIHFW) on the harmful effects of gutka informs that the number of Oral Cancer cases in India alone is 86 per cent of the oral cancer figures across the world. What is more shocking, is that the chewing tobacco and gutka contribute to 90 per cent of oral cancer cases in the country. According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS 2010) released last year reveals that, nearly one third of Indian population is addicted to smokeless tobacco. A large number of children and youth in India are addicted to smokeless tobacco.

For news coverage:

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