Waking up to the threats and consequences of high rate of tobacco consumption in the population, the West Bengal government has imposed a ban on the manufacture, sale of gutka, pan masala or any other product containing tobacco or Nicotine. The ban comes into effect on Wednesday till next one year.
Madhya Pradesh took the first step followed by Kerala and Bihar. Maharashtra banned both gutka and pan masala. After Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan, Haryana also banned gutka, meanwhile Goa had already banned it under the public health act.
Till about a year ago, gutka reigned as a Rs 20,000 crore industry. But now the gutka industry is admitting to losses, and argues that gutka should not be considered as food at all.
Yet, 5 million children in India are already addicted to oral tobacco and more than 5,000 start using gutka every day.