Following the new Food Safety law passed by Indian parliament, six Indian states have come forward to ban the popular tobacco product gutkha. The new law has banned the sale of food products that contain nicotine and tobacco. The first to take this step was the state of Madhya Pradesh followed by Kerala and Bihar.
In Maharashtra, gutkha has been banned along with pan masala. The other states that have followed suit are Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan, while Haryana is expected to do the same soon. According to public health experts, the decision is a big relief for treatment efforts needed for the 80000 new oral cancer cases every year.
As the highest cases of mouth cancers are in India, this decision is a step in the right direction. The anti-tobacco lobbyists have hailed the decisions from the various state governments as their victory. According to Srinath Reddy of the Public Health Foundation of India, nicotine as well as heavy metals found in gutkha are very dangerous for health.
It is being celebrated as a welcome step despite losses to the 20000 crores gutkha industry in the country.