Demand to extend prohibition order on tobacco or nicotine containing Gutka, Pan Masala

November 21, 2020: Consumers’ Legal Protection Forum, Assam demanded to extend the prohibition order in manufacture, storage, transportation, distribution or sale of Gutka, Pan Masala

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DY365

November 21, 2020: Consumers’ Legal Protection Forum, Assam demanded to extend  the prohibition order in manufacture, storage, transportation, distribution or sale of Gutka, Pan Masala or any chewing materials etc. (by whatsoever name) containing tobacco and/or nicotine as ingredients available in the market in the State of Assam. On Friday, a delegation team of Forum meets Monalisa Goswami, Commissioner & Secretary, Health and Family Welfare Department who is in the charge of Commissioner of Food Safety, Assam and submit a memorandum on it and demanded to extend the previous prohibition order for a period of 1 year more which will be expired on 22nd November, 2020.

Advocate Ajoy Hazarika, Secretary, Consumers’ Legal Protection Forum, Assam stated that Commissioner of Food Safety, Assam issued a Notification Vide No.FSC.12/2013/979 dated Guwahati the, 22nd November 2019 and prohibit in manufacture, storage, transportation, distribution or sale of Gutka, Pan Masala or any chewing materials etc. (by whatsoever name) containing tobacco and/or nicotine as ingredients available in the market in the State of Assam. Now Govt. should extend this prohibition period in the interest of public health. In present Covid-19 epidemic situation, use of tobacco products are one of the most vulnerable part as aware by WHO, ICMR, Govt. of India and Govt. of Assam.

Supporting CLPS’s demand, Dr. Munindra Narayan Baruah, Managing Director, North East Cancer Hospital & Research Institute, Guwahati said – “Out of 39,000 new cancer cases that are reported in the North-East every year, Assam alone contributes 29,000 cases. Assam became the hub of Cancer largely due to higher consumption of tobacco. The state has an average tobacco consumption of 48.2% vis a vis the national average of 28.6%; which is almost double of national average. 41.7% people use smokeless tobacco in some form vis a vis 13.3% users of smoked tobacco. In Assam smokeless tobacco users are three times that of smoked tobacco users. Nearly 8-9 lakh person die in India due to tobacco use every year. Each year over 80 lakh people die worldwide because of tobacco usage in one form or the other. More than 70 lakh of these deaths are due to direct tobacco usage.

Advocating the demand to extend prohibition order on tobacco or nicotine contain Gutka, Pan Masala Darshana Saikia and Barsha Gogoi, Students of Don Bosco Institute, Jorhat inform that in Assam, Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) data shows the mean age at initiation of tobacco use has increased from 18.1 years in GATS 1 to 18.5 years in GATS 2. The prevalence of smokeless tobacco use has increased significantly from GATS 1 to GATS 2 by 9.0 percentage points. The prevalence of any tobacco use has significantly increased from 39.3% in GATS 1 to 48.2% in GATS 2. In Assam, 25.3% of men, 0.8% of women and 13.3% of all adults currently smoke tobacco. 50.5% of men and 32.5% of women and 41.7% of all adults currently use smokeless tobacco.

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