Bihar bans chewing tobacco mixed with food and food additives

Earlier on May 21 gutka was banned. Today, (October 25) the state government of Bihar banned manufacture sale storage and transport of chewing tobacco mixed with food and food additives for one year

Image source: Google
Image source: Google

Food additive means any substance not normally considered by food by itself or used as a typical ingredient of food, whether or not it has nutritive value.

Food and its additives in the form of scent/flavouring are extensively used as ingredients in the manufacture or preparation of chewing tobacco. The addition of the said additives particularly flavouring or scented ingredients to tobacco significantly increases their allure, as raw tobacco is appealing in taste or texture. Thus, the consumption of raw and unprocessed tobacco is usually not in large quantities unless favoured scented or containing one of the other said additives.

It is the flavourings, scents, adding or mixing of one or the other of the said food and its additives or modifications of the physical texture or combination of tobacco that transforms them and makes them extremely inviting to a wide spectrum of population including an increasing number of children.

The Sanjay Kumar, Principal Health Secretary in the Bihar government tweeted:

Chewing tobacco is addictive in nature and the use of food and its additives as scent/flavoured etc., intensify, modify, enhance the flavour of chewing tobacco and increases its dependence.

It is expedient to prohibit in the interest of public health and the use of food or food additives in any form that can impart, intensify, modify, increase dependence and enhance the flavour of chewing tobacco in the entire state of Bihar.

This has ban is effective immediately and any violation of this order shall entail strict action under the appropriate sections of The Food and Standards Act, 2006 and The Indian Penal Code, 1860.

On February 19, the econd round of Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS 2) survey from Bihar, revealed that overall tobacco use prevalence has significantly declined. The prevalence of smoking decreased by 9.1 percentage points and smokeless tobacco by 25.2 percentage points. The prevalence of any tobacco use has also significantly decreased by 27.6 percentage points from 53.5 % in GATS 1 to 25.9 % in GATS 2.

Key findings of the survey:

  • 6% of men, 3.4% of women and 5.1% of all adults currently smoke tobacco.
  • 9% of men, 3.6% of women and 23.5% of all adults currently use smokeless tobacco.
  • 4% of men, 6.9% of women and 25.9% of all adults either smoke tobacco and/or use smokeless tobacco.
  • Khaini and bidi are the two most commonly used tobacco products, 20.4% of adults use khaini and 4.2% of adults smoke bidi.
  • The mean age at initiation of tobacco use has increased marginally from 18.8 years in GATS 1 to 18.9 years in GATS2.
  • 1 % of smokers were advised by a healthcare provider to quit smoking and 37.0% of smokeless tobacco users were advised by a healthcare provider to quit smokeless tobacco use.
  • 8% of all adults who worked indoors were exposed to second-hand smoke at their workplace.
  • 5% of all adults were exposed to second-hand smoke at any public place.
  • 5% of cigarette smokers and 51.3% of bidi smokers thought of quitting smoking because of the warning label. Whereas, 49.6% of smokeless tobacco users thought of quitting smokeless tobacco users thought of quitting smokeless tobacco because of the warning label.