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The 13th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health
Building capacity for a tobacco-free world
July 12-15, 2006, Washington, DC, USA
Objective: To examine the existing mechanisms regulating gutkha and explore effective future options to reduce its use and harm.
Methods: Review of government policies, media reports regulating gutkha in India and evidence of tobacco product regulations from other countries
Results: Several Indian States have regulated gutkha within their jurisdiction. These regulations primarily prohibit the sale, production, and display of tobacco products. The States have registered various responses to the prohibition. While some have managed to reduce the sale of tobacco, others are facing newer issues like a thriving black market. Some states withdrew or modified their regulations following legal challenges.
National tobacco control legislation prohibits advertising and promotion of gutkha along with other tobacco products. National legislation also stipulates packaging requirements for the distribution of gutkha. While gutkha is taxed at various levels, gutkha industry remains one the sectors with highest tax evasion. The Union of India is reportedly considering a proposal to ban the sale and production of Gutkha through out the country.
There exist several regulations to reduce the demand for gutkha, but their implementation needs to be strengthened. Regulations that stipulate complete ban of gutkha requires careful consideration of its implications. Considering the wide range of nicotine delivery products in the Indian market, a comprehensive and science based regulatory mechanism, supplemented with product testing facilities is crucial in deciding the tobacco product regulation regime in India.