GUWAHATI, Nov 27 - Consumers� Legal Protection Forum, Assam (CLPF) and Consumer Voice, New Delhi have welcomed the decision of the Government of Assam to ban smokeless tobacco � gutkha and pan masala � in the State.
CLPF secretary Ajoy Hazarika said, �The rise in the number of users of tobacco, especially smokeless, is a cause of worry because it is easily accessible to children and youths. We are working in the State through our programmes to protect the public, especially youths and children from exposure to tobacco use. The Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2 (GATS 2) released by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) shows 48 per cent of the adult population in Assam consumes tobacco. We welcome the decision which is much needed in the interest of the people of Assam. The younger generation that was targeted by companies is now saved from this menace.�
The Government of Assam has prohibited the manufacture, distribution, sale, transportation, display of gutkha and pan masala and chewing material containing tobacco and nicotine, in the State.
Terming the step a long overdue one, the forum thanked the government for its efforts in tobacco control intervention to save millions of lives.
Director of Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute Dr Amal Chandra Kataki said, �The initiative to ban gutkha and pan masala is a significant initiative in view of the high prevalence of tobacco consumption in the State. It is a single major important risk factor for cancer. It is also responsible for cardiovascular diseases, stroke, chronic respiratory diseases, etc.�
Consumer Voice�s COO Ashim Sanyal said that now people of Assam can lead a more healthy and productive life as both tobacco and nicotine products will be out of bounds for the populace.