Marketing geniuses at gutkha companies have made a killing off selling tiny packs of flavored tobacco for many decades, especially in rural India. Our rural retail distribution system is flush with these products – and everywhere there is a kirana shop, there hang the inevitable packets of cheap, tobacco-filled and carcinogenic gutkha packets.
The numbers speak for themselves: In 2010, 23% of cancer deaths among menwere from those in the mouth, and all tobacco-related cancers such as oral, lung and stomach, accounted for 42% of cancer deaths in menIndia has the highest prevalence of oral cancer globally, with 75,000 to 80,000 new cases every year.
Now, Madhya Pradesh, the first state to actually have the courage to upset the gutkha lobby and do something, has banned the sale of all gutkha in the state. Madhya Pradesh is the first state to ban Gutka under the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition & Restrictions on sales) Regulation 2011. Under this Act, the FDA can impose a penalty of Rs 25,000 on any person found selling Gutka.
Kudos to the MP Government for making this decision, and we hope the other states follow their lead quickly.
And if the title of this story invoked fond memories of the Shammi Kapoor Pan Parag ad, and you only really visited to see the video of it, here you go: