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Scrutiny
  
60 lakh Killing 10 lakh Annually!
The ban on Plastic Packaging is a good start; but what is The Reasoning that The Courts and The Government are not going against Tobacco Usage
28/04/2011

A few months back, the Supreme Court banned the use of plastic as the packaging material for gutkal, realizing the menace caused by plastic pouches (Not only do they litter the environment but they are toxic too). The court had extended this by announcing a blanket ban on plastic manufacturing too. The ban on plastic has not only brought a big relief for environmentalists, but it has also hit the bottom line of gutka and tobacco companies. As most of these products come in plastic pouches, this ban had made it costlier for the companies to package their products.

While the government is bumbling along to implement the plastic packaging ban, it’s supremely rib tickling that nobody is thinking of banning gutka itself, or for that matter cigarettes and other tobacco products. Innumerable researches across nations have proved that cigarettes and gutkas contain a number of compounds that can cause cancer. Gutka is said to be the prime cause of oral cancer, as 90% of oral cancer cases are due to chewing tobacco. Tobacco products are said to cause close to 10,00,000 deaths every year. The National Institute of Public Health revealed that 24% of school-going children were addicted to tobacco and 5 million children under the age of 15 years are addicted to this poison.

What was required now was for the government to ban manufacturing of all tobacco products. And why haven’t they done that? Apparently, the gutka and pan masala industry is worth Rs.100 billion in India. Add the industry size of cigarettes (Rs. 220 billion), and you have a humongous sector giving employment to more than 60 lakh Indians; one reason why the government shamelessly mentions that “Tobacco is a principal cash crop of National importance.” Think about it; 60 lakh Indians killing 10 lakh every year without fail; all with the approval of the government.

By:- Sray Agarwal
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