Gutka ban is working, but isn't enough

The study conducted by the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and the World Health Organization Country Office for India, revealed that the ban on Gutka has impacted its access, usage, price and display at point of sale. (Read: Ban on gutka working, usage of gutka down: WHO study)

However, the following measures need to be taken for better public health impact and saving lives:

  • Government to expand the Gutka ban to all smokeless tobacco products. The ban should also cover products that can be bought separately and mixed to be consumed as Gutka or a product similar to Gutka (by whatever named called).
  • Enforcement mechanisms need to be strengthened to ensure complete compliance of the ban.
  • Provision for tobacco cessation services to be scaled up to cater to the unmet need for cessation after the ban.
  • Products like pan masala are used as a base for making products akin to Gutka and also are produced and marketed by the same manufacturers under the similar brand names. These pan masala products are blatantly advertised and act as a surrogate advertising medium for smokeless tobacco.
  • Therefore, the Government needs to take urgent action to stop advertisements of pan masala to protect the vulnerable sections of society including the youth. (Read: Nearly 50% gutka users lowered gutka consumption after the state-level ban)

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