The Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government on October 26 announced a ban on the sale and manufacturing of pan masala and gutkha containing tobacco for one year. As per reports in the Hindustan Times, the ban will fully come into effect from November 7, 2021. According to a notification issued by the state's health department, this decision was taken while keeping in mind the health of everyone.
It further stated that the commissioner of food safety, under Section 30 of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, is empowered to impose such a ban on the storage, manufacture, sale, or distribution of any article of food in the state.
"As per regulation 2.3.4 of the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restrictions on Sales) Regulations 2011 made by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, in the exercise of powers conferred by clause (i) of sub-section (2) of section 92 of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 (Central Act 34 of 2006) read with section 26 thereof, prohibits sale of articles of food in which tobacco and/or nicotine are used as ingredients, as they may be injurious to health," stated the notification in the publication issued under the signature of Tapan K Rudra, commissioner of food safety, West Bengal.
No Pan Masala And Gutkha For A Year
Pan masala and gutkha generally see wide usage of nicotine and tobacco as ingredients. The State Governments usually earn a lot from the tax revenue from the sale of these items. However, while keeping the interest of public health in mind, numerous other states across India have gradually taken initiatives to ban pan masala and other products with nicotine.
No To Tobacco
In 2019, Banerjee's government had first opted to ban betel spice, gutkha, and many other tobacco products. In 2013, the State Government had also banned gutkha, khaini and pan masala in the state for one year as well.
Dr Nirmalya Mukherjee, director of Manbhum Anandashram Nityanand Trust (MANT), a non-government organisation that advocates against the use of tobacco, said around 20.3 per cent of the adult population of West Bengal consumes chewing tobacco. "While smoking has come down by around 5 percentage points, the rate of decrease in chewing tobacco is far less—from 21.6 per cent to 20.3 per cent," he said.