New Delhi, March 27: The Delhi government has decided to issue a notification banning sale, purchase and even storage of all forms of chewable tobacco including "guktha, khaini and zarda" in the national capital on Monday onwards.
"We have decided to come up with a notification to ban chewable tobacco in all forms from Monday in Delhi. Under this, no one will be allowed to sell, purchase or store chewable tobacco," Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain told.
He said enforcement teams of Delhi Police as well as the Health Department have been asked to conduct surprise inspections across the city to ensure that the ban is implemented.
"The teams have been told to be active on this," Jain said.
However, no such ban will be enforced on cigarettes.
Health Department officials said that there was a Delhi government notification in September 2012 which was in pursuance of series of directions from the Supreme Court to ban gutkha in the city.
However, since the ban mentioned the term "gutkha", the tobacco retailers started selling the components of gutkha (betel nut and raw tobacco) in separate pouches. So, the purpose of banning gutkha was not served.
Therefore, the health department last year started with a new proposal to ban all the raw chewable tobacco products in Delhi, a senior official said.
According to officials, gutkha is also being supplied to retailers in Delhi from neighbouring states of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. Stepping up its efforts towards tobacco control, the Health Department has also launched an innovative drive, creating a 'Tobacco Aware Citizens' Directory' to spread the word about its harmful effects.