Less than a week after imposing a blanket ban on the manufacture, storage and sale of ‘gutka’ (tobacco paan masala) and its variants in the state, the Himachal Pradesh government Tuesday deferred its ban. The ban on ‘gutka’ and other tobacco products has been put off till Oct 2, an official statement quoting Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal said.
It said the decision in this regard was taken by Dhumal on the appeal of retailers to enable them exhaust their stocks. Himachal Pradesh has joined a handful of states, including Maharashtra, Kerala, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh to impose total ban on ‘gutka’.
Tobacco use is estimated to have caused nearly 120,000 deaths across India in 2010, according to research carried out by the Toronto-based Centre for Global Health Research (CGHR) in partnership with Mumbai’s Tata Memorial Hospital. Nearly 600,000 Indians die of cancer every year – over seven in 10 deaths (71 percent) takes place in the 30-69 age group, the most productive period of a person’s life, says the report published in the latest issue of the Lancet medical journal. The study points out that Kerala had among the highest age standardised cancer mortality rates per 100,000 for men in the 30-69 age group (158.5 for all cancers and 53.9 for tobacco-related cancers).