Karnataka cracks down after Suvarna sting reveals ineffective tobacco ban
- Despite a ban, chewable tobacco is available freely across the state.
- A Suvarna News sting revealed even the product manufacturing was inferior and dangerous.
- The Karnataka government has called for a crackdown.
Karnataka state had banned chewable tobacco products in 2013. The ban was made with much fanfare on World Tobacco Day.
However, as is obvious to anybody who visits any cigarette or paan shop across the state, this restriction is easily circumvented by the simple expedient on selling the areca nut mixture and tobacco flakes separately.
Ineffective as the ban is, the situation is actually worse than first assumed. A Suvarna News sting operation also revealed how the tobacco and areca nuts were processed in extremely unhygienic conditions and were of very low quality.
The sting team also inspected the edible limestone, a common ingredient of pan masalas, and revealed that the product was perhaps not even fit to be used as whitewash on the walls.
Reacting to the story, the Karnataka Food Safety Commissionarate has sent a circular to the Health Minister, the Department of Health and all Commissioners and District Magistrates in the state.
In the circular, the Commissionarate has reminded the various departments that the sale of edible tobacco products was banned and asked them to crack on violators and enforce the ban properly, with the public's health in mind.