New Delhi, The Delhi Government has requested Delhi Police to enforce the ban on sale, manufacturing and storage of all forms of chewing tobacco, whether in single pack or twin packs i.e. tobacco and pan masala sold in separate packs but intended to be consumed together. The Deputy Commissioner of Food Safety, Mr. Jai Prakash, in his letter to DCP (Enforcement) refers to the Hon’ble Supreme Court order order of 23 September 2016, which bans sale, storage and manufacturing of chewing tobacco products.
Dr. Pankaj Chaturvedi, Professor, Surgical Oncologist, Tata Memorial Hospital has praised the Delhi Government's initiative.He said, in Delhi alone, there are 30 lac tobacco users. 40% of these will die untimely deaths. Nearly 10,000 deaths every year are due to tobacco consumption in Delhi. There are more than 5 million children in India who are addicted to tobacco. Appreciating the move, Project Manager of Sambandh Health Foundation, Dr. Heena Shaikh said, "effective enforcement of this ban will lead to no access of tobacco products to children. Delhi witnesses 81 children initiating tobacco use everyday."
The Delhi Government has been keen on implementing the ban on chewing tobacco and in April 2ducts016 the Commissioner of Food Safety, Government of NCT of Delhi had issued a notification to enforce the ban. This order had been challenged in the High Court but the Honorable Supreme Court's order of 23rd September had called for total compliance. All states had been asked to file affidavits indicating their compliance.The Department of Food Safety has made efforts to enforce the Supreme Courts orders however the department has constrains on number of personnel. This request to Delhi Police which has many more personnel and greater enforcement ability is seen as a major crack-down on tobacco usage.
THe Delhi Police has been independently running a campaign to reduce the prevalence of tobacco. Delhi Police is actively involved in implementing the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) which, among other stipulations, bans smoking in public places. The Delhi Police has sensitised and trained police personnel in 6 districts and is in process of training the balance 7 districts. As such it is well positioned to take action on the gutkha ban also. Tobacco industry has been by-passing the gutka ban by selling tobacco and pan-masala separately as "twin-packs" which consumers mix and use.