The Jharkhand government banned manufacture, storage, distribution and sale of gutka (tobacco-laced areca nut pieces) in the state, said an official. The Jharkhand cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Arjun Munda took the decision to ban gutka.
“Cancer cases are on the rise and of the total cancer cases, 25 per cent are related to mouth cancer. The state cabinet has agreed to ban manufacturing, storage, distribution and sale of tobacco and nicotine based gutka and pan masala,” said Jharkhand Cabinet Secretary N.N. Pandey told reporters here after the cabinet meeting. Health Minister Hemlal Murmu said: “From today (Tuesday) gutka and pan masala have been banned. We will ensure that the ban is implemented strictly in the state.”
Several states in India have already banned manufacture and sale of both gutka and pan masala. Jharkhand is the seventh state to ban gutka after Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra and Himachal Pradesh.
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).