Total ban on sale of chewing tobacco from Monday

A formal ban on sale, purchase and storage of all forms of chewable tobacco will come into effect on Monday.

The Delhi government is looking to plug loopholes in the law that are freely available despite curbs on other unhealthy products like gutkha and pan masala.

Surprise checks by police and Health Department officials have also been planned to enforce the new rules.

The new notification will leave little scope for sale of any cancer-causing chewing item, including gutkha, khaini and zarda.

Health Minister Satyendra Jain said the groundwork has been completed with Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung giving his nod to the notification which will come into force from Monday.

The notification will remain in force for one year. A Delhi government notification in September 2012 which was in pursuance of series of directions from the Supreme Court to ban gutkha in the city.

However, to bypass the curbs, shopkeepers started selling betel nut and raw tobacco in separate pouches which were mixed by consumers and used.

Earlier restrictions
The restrictions on sale of gutkha products were imposed under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act 2003.

A violation invites penalty ranging from a fine of Rs 1,000 to three-month imprisonment. Officials said illegal supply of  the banned gutkha is also coming to Delhi from neighbouring states of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, reducing the efficacy of the existing restrictions.

Jain said the government is also planning to come out with a Tobacco Aware Citizens’ Directory to spread the word about its harmful effects.

The law prohibits vendors from selling tobacco products within 100 yards of schools, colleges and hospitals. But police and the Food Department officials have not been able to enforce the ban effectively.

The Delhi High Court had earlier ordered the immediate sealing of all errant outlets which violate the law.

A few years ago, a survey conducted by an NGO in 726 educational institutions in the city found that tobacco outlets existed near 198 such buildings.

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