KOLKATA: The availability of gutka and its consumption has reduced since the banning of gutka by various states, the WHO said on Tuesday.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health recently had conducted a study on tobacco use in the seven states of Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha and the National Capital Region.
It was found that the support for gutka ban was very high (92 per cent) across the studied jurisdictions and there was an almost universal agreement (99 per cent) that gutka bans were good for the health of India's youth.
"These findings have a strong message that regulatory mechanisms are effective and can have a positive impact on the consumption pattern," Dr Nata Menabde, WHO Representative to India, said in a statement.
"The study has revealed that product bans did have an impact on its use. Of the respondents who continue to use pre-packaged gutka, half (49 per cent) reported they consume less since the ban," she said, adding there was high degree of unanimity (90 per cent of the respondents) that the government should ban manufacturing, sale and distribution of other forms of smokeless tobacco.
Gutka, a form of chewing tobacco flavoured with spices and sweeteners, is a major cause of oral cancer in India.
In recent years, all states in India have banned the manufacturing, sale and distribution of gutka in an effort to address the astounding public health impacts caused by this deadly product.