Dispur: The Assam government has levied a complete ban on the manufacture, distribution, storage, sale, transportation, and display of ‘pan masala’, ‘gutka’, pan masala and chewing materials containing tobacco and nicotine. With this, the state government wants to make Assam a tobacco-free state.

The ban has been put in place for one year under the food safety department’s clause (a) of Sub-section 2 of Section 30 of the Food Safety and Security Act, 2006.

The official notification issued by the Commissioner of Food Safety of Assam government, Dr Chandrima Baruah said that the prohibition has been made under the regulations of 2, 3 and 4 of the Food Safety & Standards (Prohibitions and Restrictions on Sales) Regulations 2011 of the Food Safety & Standards Act.

Likewise, in 2013, a similar ban was levied by the Assam government on manufacture and distribution of gutka and pan masala containing tobacco and nicotine for one year.

Earlier in October this year, the Uttarakhand government put a total ban on the manufacture, storage, distribution and sale of products like gutka and pan masala in the state for a year.

It must be noted that gutka, a form of chewing tobacco flavoured with spices and sweeteners, is a major cause of oral cancer in India.

Additionally, there have been cases of oral cancer reported due to the highly addictive areca nut (supari) used in pan masala. Experts have stated that the areca nut is as addictive as tobacco, alcohol, and caffeine. The areca nut could possibly lead to Submucous Fibrosis, which can easily turn cancerous.