Condom ads banned but what about pan masala? Asks Pahlaj Nihalani

On Monday, the government imposed the ban condom ads on television. After which, Pahlaj Nihalani, Former Censor Board Chairperson raised a question on banning the pan masala ads as it is harmful. According to The Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) Maharashtra survey, current ‘pan masala with tobacco’ users - men, 2.1 per cent, women, 1.2 per cent, urban, 2.05 per cent and rural, 1.3 per cent


According to experts, many leading Bollywood celebrities feature in pan masala ads which can send across a wrong message in the society. On Monday, The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I & B), released an advisory to ban condom ads on television, during the day time from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm. Immediately after this, Pahlaj Nihalani, Former Censor Board Chairperson tweeted and raised a query regarding the pan masala ads.

Pahlaj Nihalani tweeted to Smriti Irani-headed Information And Broadcasting (I&B) ministry saying, “Use of Condoms helps Nation stay safe & in control of population. To ensure kids don’t come in contact, #CondomAds not to run between 6:00 am to 10:00 pm. But then what about Pan Masala ads? They are serious hazard to health.”


Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi , Anti-Tobacco Activist and Professor and Surgeon, Tata Memorial Hospital, reacted on Pahlaj Nihalani’s tweet, “It is great to see Pahlaj Nihalani tweet about Pan Masala. It is a confirmed cancer causing substance. Several states have prohibited it,” said Dr Chaturvedi.

He added, “Pan masala causes cancer. Its advertisement is rampant. It violates Cable &TV network act. Just like condom, it promotes unhealthy practice among kids and youth leading to epidemic of mouth cancers.”

DrPC Gupta, director, Healis – Sekhsaria Institute for Public Health said, “Pan masala is being extensively marketed as a mouth freshener and glamorised by various celebrity brand ambassadors. Pan masala also acts as a surrogate for gutka which has been banned in almost all of the country but is available freely in black market.”

Dr Chaturvedi said, “Pan masala affects almost every part of the human body even without coming in direct contact. Chewers have poor dental hygiene, burning sensation, decreased mouth opening, pre-cancerous spots which have high chance of converting to oral cancer. The risk of cancer increases if it is used with other harmful habits like smoking and drinking.”

He further said that “There is need for better enforcement of the existing laws with immediate ban on direct and indirect advertising of pan masala.”