The Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration recently reimposed a ban on manufacture, storage, distribution, transport and sale of tobacco and areca nut (betel nut).
A government resolution, issued on July 20, renewed the ban on gutka, paan masala and supari that is either flavoured, scented or mixed with additives.
Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, professor, Tata Memorial Hospital, said the FSSAI regulation mandates that every supari packet should carry a warning that it is injurious to health.
“It is unfortunate that paan masala companies are the main sponsors of cricket matches and film festivals. It is blatantly advertised on TV. Celebrities must stop promoting this,” said Chaturvedi.
The WHO and several studies have proven beyond doubt that paan masala causes serious health hazards, including mouth and throat cancers. Sanjay Seth, trustee, Sambandh Health Foundation (SHF), said the results of the Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2017, conducted on people aged 15 years and above, showed that 29.6 per cent of men, 12.8 per cent of women and 21.4 per cent of all adults use smokeless tobacco.
Tobacco use is the foremost preventable cause of death and disease, globally as well as in India. The consequent burden of mortality and morbidity due to consumption of smokeless tobacco is very high in India.