Punjab government on Friday said it has prohibited the manufacture, storage, sale or distribution of food products containing tobacco or nicotine like gutkha and pan masala in the state for one year.

An official spokesperson said the decision has been taken in pursuance of the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restrictions on Sales) Regulations, 2011.

As per the order, the manufacture, storage, sale or distribution of gutkha, paan masala (Containing tobacco or nicotine), processed, flavoured or scented chewing tobacco and any other food products containing tobacco or nicotine as ingredient is prohibited in Punjab for a period of one year.

The ban applies on by whatsoever name the above are called as final products, whether packaged, unpackaged and or sold as one product or through packaged as separate products available in the market,

The Commissioner Food and Drug Administration, KS Pannu said a notification in this context has been issued on 9 October.

He said it has been observed that to circumvent the ban on the sale of gutkha, the manufacturers are selling paan masala (without tobacco) with flavourved chewing tobacco in separate sachets but often they are conjoint and sold together by the same vendors in the same premises.

“This is done intentionally so that consumers can buy the paan masala and flavoured chewing tobacco and mix both the articles as a concoction to replace gutkha,” Pannu said.

“Hence, instead of the earlier “ready to consume admixture”, paan masala and flavoured or scented chewing tobacco are being used to serve the same purpose,” he added.

In view of this processed, flavoured, scented chewing tobacco, gutkha and paan masala containing tobacco and have been banned in the state, Pannu said.