The 2016-17 Global Adult Tobacco Survey found that more than 20 per cent of the more than 70,000 people surveyed in India had seen an ad for smokeless chewing tobacco in the last 30 days. The study found that almost half of the gutka The packages sold also did not contain health warnings. But, Gutka it is far from being a harmless oral air freshener, as marketed. In fact, it contains 4,000 chemicals, including 40 carcinogens.
Dr. Chaturvedi says Tata Memorial Hospital receives 80,000 new cancer patients a year and nearly a quarter are neck and mouth sounds, largely attributed to chewing tobacco consumption.
“No country sees as much misery and suffering from smokeless tobacco consumption as we do,” laments Dr. Chaturvedi. By comparison, in the UK, oral cancers make up only two per cent of cancers diagnosed annually.
So why has the Indian government not cracked down on the use of smokeless chewing tobacco in India?
On paper, he tried. In May 2013, the sale, manufacture, distribution and storage of gutka and its variants have been banned in 27 of the states and territories of the union of India. Other states, including West Bengal, have since introduced temporary and continuous bans.
But, the application of these laws is almost non-existent. There are stalls selling smokeless tobacco and chewing on most of the streets of the towns and cities of India.
He took the Telegraph less than two minutes to find one under the counter gutka seller in one of the richest and best controlled neighborhoods of Mumbai on Friday.