Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday extended for one more year the ban on manufacturing, sale and possession of tobacco and all types of processed and packaged tobacco products in the state, including gutka, pan masala and scented supari. This will be the third consecutive year of the ban.
"Tobacco is a major cause of oral cancer, fibrosis and cardio vascular diseases in India. Tobacco is proving to be a menace for the younger generation and especially school-going children. That is why we had decided to ban the production, sale and possession of tobacco and tobacco-related products in Maharashtra," Mahesh Zagade, Food Safety Commissioner and Commissioner of Food and Drug Administration, Maharashtra told reporters here.
"From the last two years we have managed to strictly prohibit gutka, pan masala, scented tobacco and scented supari. Everyday has been an 'anti tobacco drive' for us in the last two years, and we will ensure it continues," he said.
"So far, we have seized material worth Rs 36 crore, filed 1,200 FIRs and 1,400 people have been prosecuted for violating the orders. It is in no other state that a ban has been imposed so thoroughly. This ban is of the highest order in the country," he said.
Zagade said that in order to stop the young generation from falling into the trap of consuming tobacco, all tobacco manufacturing factories have been banned. "There is not a single unit in the state that manufactures these products now and hence there is no sale," he claimed.
According to him, a report released by Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, says that instances of oral cancer will shoot up by 51% in the future, if timely steps are not taken to contain the causes of this disease at the right time.
"All over the world 6 lakh people die every year due to tobacco-related diseases. Therefore, we are trying to implement this ban very strictly across the state," Zagade said.