An attempt at heading off the growing incidence of cancer in the Indian state of Bihar has led to a ban on a number of non-combustible oral products containing tobacco, but has exempted cigarettes, bidis and raw tobacco or khaini, according to a story in the latest issue of the BBM Bommidala Group newsletter.
Bihar’s chief minister, Jitan Ram Manjhi, declared on November 7, National Cancer Awareness Day, a ban on tobacco products such as pan masala, zarda, packaged khaini and scented areca nut or sugandhit supari.
The ban is being imposed under the Food Standards and Safety Act.
Bihar is the 11th Indian state to introduce such a ban on the huge range of oral products that combine tobacco with other ingredients. India has 29 states, including Telangana, which was formed this year, and seven union territories.
The latest ban in Bihar is an extension of a ban on gutkha that was imposed in 2012.
It will apply for one year to the manufacture, storage, distribution and sale of all chewable products, except raw tobacco.
At the same time, the Himachal Pradesh state administration is considering banning the sale of single cigarettes.
Health Minister, Kaul Singh Thakur, said the ministry had recently received approval from the law department regarding making the necessary amendments to legislation, which would be ‘introduced in the Assembly soon’.
Meanwhile, the Delhi state administration, as part of its plan to make the state tobacco-free, has launched an initiative to turn the departments of transport, health, education and the police into tobacco-free zones where it would be illegal even to carry tobacco products.