January 1, 2008 onwards State of Chhattisgarh has imposed a five year ban on manufacturing and sale of gutkha (chewing tobacco) and polythene bags which are less than 20 micron thickness. The state’s media release said 'Those who violate the decision will be imprisoned from six months to three years, besides economic penalty under provisions of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954,'
The State Government in its media statement said that it had banned gutkha as school and college children were increasingly being found chewing gutkha which has immense risk to their health. According to an official estimate, around Rs.100 million worth of gutkha is sold in the state every month. The State Government of Chhattisgarh in order has also banned the use of polythene bags with a thickness of less than 20 micron, saying it was causing great damage to the environment.
The major challenge which state will face will be of enforcement of this ban. Need will be to launch an awareness drive simultaneously to educate people about health implication of use of tobacco and the ban or else this ban will not have much impact but may illegal sale of 'gutka' at higher prices from neighboring states.
According to data, more than 250 million people in India use various tobacco products like gutka, cigarettes and bidis and millions of them die, many suffer with heart and lung diseases because of this habit. The data says one in two Indian men and one in seven women use tobacco in the country. Tobacco causes 40 per cent of all cancer disease in India.