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It's official. Gutkha, paan masala banned from today


The ban on sale and consumption of gutkha and paan masala in the state will officially come into effect from Friday, July 20. The state government will issue a notification to this effect on Friday, which will be valid for a year. At the end of the year, the ban will be extended for another 12 months.


The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) minister Manohar Naik confirmed the development. The state cabinet had decided on the ban last week.


Figures show that gutkha was one of the major reasons for oral diseases such as cancer. The sale of gutkha in the state is estimated to be around Rs300 crore a month and the government earns more than Rs100 crore in taxes on it every year.


The state had attempted to ban gutkha in 2002 and then in 2008, but encountered several legal hurdles. The new Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA), which was passed last year, will facilitate the ban this time.


In 2010, the state banned the sale of gutkha and cigarettes within 100 metres of schools and colleges.


The move to ban gutkha gained momentum after deputy chief minister and senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar announced it at a public forum last month. Pawar said the state would lose Rs100 crore in tax from gutkha and paan masala but would not compromise on citizens' health.


States such as Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Goa and Bihar have already banned the sale of gutkha.


Maharashtra is one of the highest users of tobacco in the country, with 43% adult men and 19% adult women addicted to it. The findings were published in the Global Adult Tobacco Survey in Maharashtra released last month.


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