Following the direction of the union government, Tripura and
Meghalaya will ban the sale, manufacture and distribution of gutka
(tobacco-laced areca nut pieces) and pan masala (a chewing
mixture), officials said Tuesday.
Health department officials of Tripura and Meghalaya said that
both the states have already taken initiative to ban the sale,
manufacture and distribution of gutka, khaini, pan masala and
other chewing products containing tobacco or nicotine.
Assam, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram and Sikkim
have already banned such products.
The Supreme Court earlier this month directed 23 states and five
Union Territories to file status report on the implementation of
the notification issued by them banning these products and also
asked the remaining states and Union Territories to explain the
reasons why they have not imposed the ban so far and the time they
need to do so.
"Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura have emerged as the maximum tobacco
consuming states in the country. Incidence of cancer has been
rising alarmingly in the hilly northeastern region, almost half
the cases being attributed to consumption of tobacco products,"
Goutam Majumder, superintendent of regional cancer centre in
Tripura, told IANS.
He said that people who use tobacco in public places should be
punished and an awareness campaign should be launched about the
cause of cancer.
According to official figures, the number of patients registered
with the regional cancer centre in 2006 was 1,263. The figure
increased to 1,386 in 2007, 1,444 in 2008, 1,524 in 2009 and 1,836
According to the population-based cancer registry (PCR) in Mizoram,
cancer is on the rise in the mountainous state with 600 to 650
people dying of cancer annually in the state.
Officials supervising the PCR said: "Around 1,300 new cancer cases
are being detected in the state on an average every year."