New Delhi: A year and 12 states later, Delhi has become the latest to ban gutka after the new Food Safety Law banning foods with tobacco and nicotine content came into being.
There is a mixed response to the national capital finally banning sale and manufacture of gutka. The ban affecting as many as 10,37,000 people in Delhi who consume gutka, was a result of a petition filed at the Delhi High Court.
Welcoming the decision of the court, Supreme Court advocate Varun Chopra said, "The Delhi government was not banning it, but for the High Court intervention. We are now filing a petition in the Kolkata High Court as well."
A year since the new Food Safety Law banning foods with tobacco and nicotine content came into effect, many states have banned gutka, khaini and such pan masala products. Public health experts say it is a huge health relief as India battles 80 thousand new cancer cases every year.
Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi of the Tata Memorial Hospital said, "India is highest producer of mouth cancers. Apart from that there are several precancerous conditions like submucous fibrosis in which the mouth of the person doesn't open."
"It is not just nicotine but the heavy metal content as well, which is high in gutka," said Dr Srinath Reddy.
The gutka industry admits to losses up to ten thousand crores following the ban in states. And yet, five million children in India are already addicted to oral tobacco and more than 5000 start using gutka every day.