The state government today announced a ban on the manufacturing and sale of gutkha and pan masala containing tobacco for a year.
According to a notification issued by the state health and family welfare department, the ban will come into effect from 7 November 2021. The notification stated that the decision has been taken keeping in mind the health of the people.
The commissioner of food safety is empowered under Section 30 of the food safety and standards act, 2006 to impose such a ban on the manufacture, storage, distribution or sale of any article of food in the entire state, the notification stated.
“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 the sale of articles of food in which tobacco and/or nicotine are used as ingredients, as they may be injurious to health,” read the notification.
Tobacco and nicotine are widely used as ingredients in gutkha and pan masala. In 2019 the state government had issued a notification stating that making, storing, and selling of all things in which nicotine is found would be legally punishable. The state governments usually earn a lot of tax revenue from the sale of these items.
However, in the interest of public health, many states across the country have gradually taken steps to ban gutkha and other products with nicotine. The Mamata Banerjee government had decided to ban gutkha, betel spice and several other tobacco products for the first time in 2019. In 2013, the state government had banned khaini, gutkha and pan masala in West Bengal for one year.