JKVHA urges to Ban Guthka,Tobacco products in JK

Srinagar, September 23 (Scoop News) -   J&K Voluntary Health Association (JKVHA) today urged the state government to ban Guthka and other chewable food products containing tobacco and nicotine as ingredients, to show its commitment towards greater health concerns of the citizens. This would be a milestone and progressive step towards making J&K a tobacco-free State.

 

In a statement JKVHA in a appeal to the Chief Minister; Minister for Health and Medical Education and the Government of J&K in general said that the increasing consumption of Guthka, Pan Masala and such other chewing tobacco products in J&K is a matter of deep concern..

 

 

 

The VHA Executive Director A M Mir, a retired IAS officer in a statement said that the children and young adolescents also had access to these products as they are freely available and at affordable costs at every nook and corner of the State. These products thus act as a gateway to drug addiction for this vulnerable population. Besides, poor section of the society consumes it as a leisure product. The impact can be seen in the form of rising number of cancer cases, especially oral cancer in the State.

            According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS)-India Report 2009-10, among 26.6% adult tobacco users in the State of J&K, 8% exclusively use smokeless form of tobacco. Shockingly, usage of Gutka, Pan Masala and such other chewing tobacco products are found to be significant among females and young adults in the State. Among 4.1% of the current women users in the State 3.7 % are consuming it on a daily basis. In other words, a majority of them are addicted to the Gutka products.

 

It is in this context of greater health concerns, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) issued a notification in 2011 that clearly states “any food product should not contain tobacco and nicotine”. Therefore, Gutka, Pan Masala and such other chewing tobacco products falling under this category are prohibited by virtue of the above mentioned notification. 14 States including Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Bihar, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Punjab, Delhi, Mizoram, Sikkim and Uttarakhand have already banned and complied with the notification, by issuing orders and taking appropriate measures to prevent the sales, manufacture and use of these lethal products.

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