Bhubaneswar: The anti tobacco activists of Odisha Md. Imran Ali of NMYS has approached the office of the President of India and requested to the Honorable president Ramnath Kobind to intervene into the illegal gutkha business across the country. The issues of tobacco is very alarming now, India has become the capital of oral cancer in the World. The total deaths caused by tobacco alone are much bigger than the total national deaths caused by Malaria and HIV put together in the country. Around 10 to 12 lakhs of Indian people are dying of tobacco related deaths per year. Thus, tobacco has become the most alarming challenge but also an important preventable subject of cancer in the country. Recently, the data revealed by Global Tobacco Atlas Survey has indicated a very unfortunate thing that about more than 6 lakhs Indian children between the age group of 10 to 14 are into the addiction of smoking in the country! Despite ban of tobacco sale to the minors (COTPA, 2003), our huge children population is into tobacco addiction which shows clear cut negligence of the government mechanism to ensure anti tobacco legislation across the country.
Even if the gutkha has been proved to be illegal still being sold in many of Indian states despite ban by various state governments, the business of gutkha and pan masala is very popular in almost all parts of the country including the state of Odisha. After the ban of gutkha, now the tobacco industries have tactfully overlooked the ban. They have separated the pouch of gutkha into two separate pouches and openly selling everywhere. Thus, the spirit of banning the gutkha stuff remains unfulfilled. The rate of oral cancer is increasing like forest fire. Thus, India has become the capital of oral cancer in the World. Such chewing tobacco stuff like gutkha and pan masala has resulted the rising numbers of cancer patients in the welfare country of ours. Recently, it is revealed from the discussion in the Parliament that in the year 2016 alone, 14 lakhs 51 thousands 4 hundreds Seventeen new cancer patients have been registered in our country.
Keeping this data, Imran wrote to the Honorable President to intervene. President Kobind as asked Food Safety and Standards Authority of India to take action. Thus, the FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) has written to Imran that regulation 2.3.4 of Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restriction on sales ) Regulation , 2011 has prohibited the use of tobacco and nicotine as an ingredients in any food products.Thus, officially, gutkha is ban nation wide. To elaborate, tobacco and nicotine in any form is prohibited for human consumption. After this communication, Imran has again urged the President to intervene and allow him to brief the matter to him in Rastrapati Bhawan. Despite ban, there is open sale of gutkha everywhere in the country which results the rapid increase of mouth cancer in the country, added the activist.