With the ban on chewable tobacco not successful in Delhi despite a court-driven prohibition, the Delhi government of Aam Aadmi Party has moved in the direction of imposing a comprehensive ban on sale of chewable tobacco in the national capital.
“We have decided to come up with a notification to ban chewable tobacco in all its forms from Monday in Delhi and no one will be allowed to sell, purchase or store chewable tobacco,” Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain said. “Chewable tobacco is a known cancer-causing product which is easily available.”
A violation invites penalty ranging from a fine of Rs 1,000 to 3 months jail term. The Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act 2003 also entails prohibition on vendors from selling tobacco products within 100 yards of schools and hospitals.
In addition to the ban on sale, purchase and storage of all forms of chewable tobacco including “guktha, khaini and zarda” will be punishable effective from March 30, 2015.
The earlier directive issued in September 2012 as per the Supreme Court ban on gutkha, was easily sidestepped with many tobacco retailers selling not gutkha but components of gutkha such as betel nut and raw tobacco in separate pouches.
The latest move comes after a series of steps taken up by the Delhi Health Department to contain tobacco use in the city. Recently, it has also launched an innovative drive — creating a ‘Tobacco Aware Citizens’ Directory’ — to spread awareness among the users. It remains to be seen when the ban will extend to cigarettes, which are equally harmful.