Gutkha, pan masala ban comes into effect in Maharashtra

Gutkha, pan masala ban comes into effect in Maharashtra

The ban on gutkha and pan masala across Maharashtra came into effect from today with the state government issuing a notification in this regard.

The notification, which bans the sale and consumption of gutkha and paan masala, will be valid for a year. It will be later extended for another 12 months.

The state cabinet had decided on the ban last week.

Figures show that gutkha was one of the major reasons for oral diseases. The monthly sale of gutkha in Maharashtra is estimated to be around Rs 300 crore and the government annually earns more than Rs 100 crore in taxes on it.

The state had attempted to ban gutkha in 2002 and then in 2008, but had encountered several legal hurdles. The new Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA), which was passed last year, will facilitate the ban this time.

In 2010, the state banned the sale of gutkha and cigarettes within 100 metres of schools and colleges.

The move to ban gutkha gained momentum after Deputy Chief Minister and NCP leader Ajit Pawar announced it at a public forum last month.

 Pawar said the state would lose Rs 100 crore in tax from gutkha and paan masala, but would not compromise on public health.

States such as Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Goa and Bihar have already banned the sale of gutkha.

Maharashtra is among the highest users of tobacco in the country, with 43 per cent adult men and 19 per cent adult women addicted to it, as per the Global Adult Tobacco Survey released last month. 

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