Odisha will impose a ban on the manufacture, sale and use of gutka (tobacco-laced areca nut pieces) products in the state, a minister said on Tuesday. State Health Minister Damodar Rout said the government is likely to issue a notification in this regard later this week.
‘I appeal to people not to chew tobacco products because it is harmful for their health. It may cause diseases like cancer,’ Rout told reporters here. The chewing tobacco products also known as smokeless tobacco have already been banned in several states in India, including in Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa, Mizoram, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar. Besides, such bans are also in force in Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Punjab, Bihar, Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Sikkim.
However, the bans in the other states have turned out to be superficial. Gutka is still easily available with most street vendors and some companies have even managed to circumvent the ban by selling pan masala and chewing tobacco – the two key ingredients of gutka – separately. These two can be mixed to give a gutka ‘like’ high.