The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) issued a directive on October 9 banning the manufacture, sale and distribution of gutka and pan masala (with tobacco and nicotine). The directive was issued to Commissioners/Offices In-charge of Food Safety of all states and union territories in the country. The Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restrictions on sales) Regulations, 2.3.4, prohibit the use of tobacco and nicotine as ingredients in any food products and bans sale of all food products where tobacco is present as ingredient such as gutka and pan masala.
The FSSAI’s ban on gutka and pan masala, which is supported by a Supreme Court order, is a welcome move as earlier, only state governments/UTs were issuing orders for banning manufacturing and sale of gutka and pan masala with tobacco and/or nicotine, Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, Head and Neck surgeon at Tata Memorial Hospital said.
He pointed out that the result of the Global Adult Tobacco Survey conducted in 2016-17 had found that 29.6 per cent of men, 12.8 per cent of women and 21.4 per cent of all adults currently use smokeless tobacco. However, due to initiative taken by the government like ban on certain forms of smokeless tobacco products, such as gutka, pan masala (with tobacco and nicotine), the number of tobacco users has dropped by at least 81 lakh.