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Assam bans ‘pan masala’, ‘gutka’ for a year

The ban, which comes into immediate effect, follows an order issued by the food safety department under clause (a) of Sub-section 2 of Section 30 of Food Safety and Security Act, 2006.

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The Assam government has banned the manufacture, distribution, storage, sale, transportation and display of ‘pan masala’ and ‘gutka’, which contains tobacco and nicotine, for one year.

The ban, which comes into immediate effect, follows an order issued by the food safety department under clause (a) of Sub-section 2 of Section 30 of Food Safety and Security Act, 2006.

The notification signed by Assam’s commissioner of food safety said the prohibition comes under regulations 2, 3 and 4 of the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restrictions on Sales) Regulation, 2011.

Besides ‘pan masala’ and ‘gutka’ any other chewing material containing tobacco or nicotine would also come under the purview of the ban, the notification said.

According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) carried out in 2016-2017, the use of tobacco decreased in India from 34.6% to 28.6% but it increased in Assam from 39.3% to 48.2% in five years.

It added that in Assam 25.3% of men, 0.8% women and 13.3% of all adults smoke tobacco.

Additionally, 50.5% men, 32.5% women and 41.7% of all adults use smokeless tobacco.

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