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Bihar bans 12 brands of pan masala, more may follow

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After Maharashtra, Bihar took the first step towards banning all varieties of pan masala, prohibiting manufacture, storage, distribution, transportation, display or sale of 12 brands of the addictive product.

“which means a ban on any form of pan masala, plain or pre mixed tobacco and nicotine variety, on the 12 brands currently identified to be containing magnesium carbonate, a harmful chemical, which could lead to cardiac arrest,” said Sanjay Kumar, Bihar’s principal secretary, health, and commissioner of food safety, who issued the order.

Presence of magnesium carbonate as an ingredient in food article contravenes provisions under the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives), Regulations, 2011, he said.

The ban, for a period of one year was imposed under the food safety Act.

The prevalence rate of tobacco in Bihar has come down from 54% to 25.9% as per the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS). This means that 25.9% people in Bihar consume tobacco in one form or the other. The most common form of tobacco used is smokeless, which includes, gutkha, pan masala, khaini, jarda, etc., and is believed to be consumed by nearly 23.5% of adults in Bihar, said Deepak Mishra, executive director of the Socio Economic and Educational Development Society (Seeds), an NGO, partnering the state government in its tobacco control initiative.

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