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Gutkha banned in Odisha

The state government on Tuesday announced a ban on the sale and manufacture of gutka and paan masala.

Odisha is the 15th state in the country to enforce the ban. The ban is already in place in Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Goa, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Jharkhand, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Punjab and Mizoram following a Supreme Court order.

Health Minister Damodar Rout said a notification would be issued soon and the ban would be strictly enforced throughout the State.

The ban has been imposed by invoking Section 2.3.4 of the Food Safety and Standards (prohibition and resitriction on sales) Regulation 2011 is aimed at protecting the population from the ill effects of chewing tobacco consumption, which is the single largest cause of oral, throat, oesophagus and intestinal cancers.
Gutkha banned in Orissa
The ban assumes significance for chewing tobacco use in Odisha is very high. As per the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) more than 43 percent of the population chew tobacco while the initiation age is as low as adolescent years. Tobacco consumption among women is also high at over 35 percent developing thehabit. Over 40 percent of all cancers detected in the State are caused by tobacco.

Doctors and anti-tobacco activists across the state welcomed the move. “The step will save many lives. It will bring down cases of oral cancer and prevent crores of rupees from going down the drain,” said Dr Ghanashyam Biswas, a noted oncologist in the city.

The move has been welcomed by the anti-tobacco campaigners. “However, the ban should be followed up by strict enforcement.

Earlier, the state-run Odisha State Cooperative Milk Producers Federation (Omfed) had decided not to sell gutka at its milk booths.

Orissa High Court had issued a directive to Omfed authorities in this regard.

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