Tobacco becomes a banned product in Himachal Pradesh

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Gutkha Pan Masala
Shimla, Oct 2: The picturesque state of Himachal Pradesh celebrated the 143rd birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi in a noble way. Coinciding with the birth anniversary of the father of the nation on Tuesday, Oct 1, a complete ban on the sale, storage, manufacture and distribution of tobacco-based products has come into force in the state.

From now onwards cigarettes, bidis, gutka (tobacco-laced areca nut pieces) and pan masala will be considered as banned substances in Himachal Pradesh. Anyone who will use, sale, store, manufacture and distribute tobacco-based products will invite action under the provisions of Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.

The ban was first announced by the state government in Jul 13 but the ban came into force from Tuesday onwards.

In fact, Himachal Pradesh is one of the first few States in the country to have made sale and distribution of these items illegal in the country.

Himachal Pradesh had already banned smoking at public places in the state for which defaulters are liable to pay the fine.

Several activists working towards banning tobacco products have hailed the decision of the state government. Activists feel that banning tobacco products will hugely reduce diseases like cancer among the people of the state.

Himachal Pradesh is very strict in complying the ban on smoking in public space. Official figures say that around 42,591 persons were fined in the state for smoking in public places during last three years and a fine of Rs 55 lakh was collected from them and 137 cases were referred to the courts. The funds collected are being used for anti-tobacco activities in the State.

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