Punjab has also joined the list of States that have banned gutka as per Food Safety Standards Act 2006 and Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restrictions on Sales) Regulation 2011. Punjab became the 11th state to announce the ban.
This is a result of advocacy by Dr. Prahlad Duggal, a Voice of Tobacco Victims (VoTV) Patron, with the Chief Minister and other policy makers. Also, Dr. Duggal got the Jathedar (Leader) of Akal Takht, Giani Gurbachan Singh Ji, to sign a pledge campaigned by VoTV to protect Punjab from the perils of tobacco chewing.
Dr Vijayanand Reddy with support from the Regional Cancer Centre of Hyderabad organized a VoTV event on 22nd August 2012 in Hyderabad.
Dr Kishore Mongaluru from the World Health Organization, Mr. Pravin Prakash, FDA Commissioner attended the event.
VoTV members (cancer patients) and their families shared their agony about how gutka and pan masala usage addiction had caused oral cancer and great suffering for the entire family. FDA assured support to the VOTV patrons for the gutka ban.
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.
VoTV and Cancer Awareness Society, Bihar organized a successful event in Patna on the 28th of December at the Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (IGIMS). The Chief Guest was the Deputy Chief Minister, Sushil Modi, who is also the Finance Minister and the Chairman of the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers for GST. Other VIPs included Ashwini Choubey – the Health Minister and Chairman of IGIMS, Mr Abhyanand – the Director General of Police; Sanjay Kumar (IAS), Executive Director, Bihar Health Society; Dr Arun Kumar, Director, IGIMS; 4 MLAs and local politicians. The meeting was attended by approximately 35 media persons attended. About 12 Victims with their relatives participated in the meeting and narrated their heart renting stories to the participants.