New Delhi: More than seven months after the Centre's new food safety law banned tobacco containing products, the Madhya Pradesh government has been the first state to implement the ban, starting April 2012. Its mandate is very clear, no sale and no manufacture of any food that contains tobacco.
The Madhya Pradesh government has cancelled the licences of 17 gutka manufacturing units and has confiscated tobacco worth over Rs 1 crore, nearly 30 lakh pouches, including Khaini and Zarda.
"Since April 1, we have seized over 30 lakh pouches - in some places being sold clandestinely - we are trying to impose the ban in those places as well " patch as long as khaini is taken through the oral route its banned," MP FDA Ashwini Kumar, Commissioner said.
It's a huge move, in a state where 31 per cent of the population consumes smokeless tobacco.
The move has spurred other states into action, from Bihar where 49 per cent of the population uses smokeless tobacco to Maharashtra where that figure is 28 per cent.
Rajasthan, Karnaktaka, Kerala, Jammu and Kashmir and Assam, all are in talks to soon implement the ban on tobacco food products.
"We welcome the government's move," WHO India Representative Nata Manabde said.
According to the WHO, 206 million Indians consume smokeless tobacco, 40 per cent of them die because of that habit. The MP initiative is definitely a step in the right direction.