Guj notifies ban on tobacco, lets off exporters
However, the ban will “not be applicable in respect of 100% export-oriented units,” the notification says.
Significantly, the government has also banned “any other products marketed separately to constitute as gutkha and pan masala as final product”.
Some reports had indicated ingenious gutkha companies had begun selling ingredients separately to circumvent the ban.
Citing a research done at Tata Memorial Hospital, the notification says “gutkha and pan masala cause carcinogenic and co-carcinogenic effects and their consumption leads to increased risks of oral cancer.
It also says that several NGOs had urged the the state government to put a complete ban on the sale of gutkha and pan masala in Gujarat.
While the notification does not specify the punishments for violating the ban, the Food Safety Act of 2006, under which the notification was passed, allows officials to impose a fine of up to Rs 5 lakh on offenders. Imprisonment up to six months can also be awarded to a second-time offender.
The legal counsel for the semi-government Public Health Foundation of India, which lobbied for the ban in Gujarat while partnering with the government for anti-tobacco curriculum in some state-run schools, however, said the exemption for exporting units appeared to be a move to pacify the tobacco industry. Gujarat produced 2,81,000 tonnes of tobacco crop