The state government has extended the ban on gutkha and pan masala with nicotine in them for another year. As of now, the ban extends to sale, storage and distribution of such products.
Health Minister Nitin Patel said that under the Food Safety Act use of tobacco and nicotine in any product for consumption has been banned.
He said gutkha has tobacco and nicotine in it which is harmful to health and as a result the ban has been extended.
He said strict action will be taken against those found to be manufacturing, selling and distributing gutkha and pan masala with nicotine in them. He said the ban on the sale of tobacco products within 100 meters of school will also continue and the administration is taking steps to ensure that it is strictly implemented.
The health department has in the last three years conducted raids and search at 10,000 such establishments and fined Rs11 lakh as penalty in all.
Gutkha first banned in 2012.
The prohibition had first come into effect in the state on September 11, 2012, when the then Narendra Modi government banned production and sale of gutkha in Gujarat. The ban came before the assembly elections in December 2012.
The ban provided for six-month imprisonment and up to Rs5 lakh in fine for violation. Earlier, Maharashtra, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Bihar had imposed a similar ban on gutkha.
The ban however has not had much impact on tobacco consumption in the state. Earlier the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) in 2018 found that smokeless tobacco users in the state had gone up from 16.4% to 17.1%.
It also found that the age at which youngsters started smoking had come down to 16 from the earlier 20 years.
The GATS survey covered 1,346 men and 1,385 women from Gujarat in the year 2016.
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