Dehradun: In a landmark decision, the Uttarakhand government has put a total ban on the manufacture, storage, distribution and sale of products like gutka and pan masala in the state for a year.

Gutka and pan masala which have a high content of tobacco and nicotine in them are deemed harmful for human health.

Explaining reasons behind the ban, the order said, “Food Safety and Standards Authority of India prohibits use of tobacco and nicotine as an ingredient in any product meant for human consumption, but it has been found that gutka, pan masala and several other similar products being sold under different names continue to have a high content of them as components”.

With this, Uttarakhand has become the fourth state to impose such a ban this year after Bihar, Maharashtra and Rajasthan.

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.