Patna, June 9: The Nitish Kumar-led Bihar government is planning to ban Khaini, a smokeless form of tobacco. His government had earlier implemented a blanket ban on liquor and gutka. According to news reports, on a similar note, the health secretary of the state has written a letter to Union Health minister to include Khaini as a food product under the Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA), 2006. The aim behind the move is to bring a ban on the consumption of khaini, which is a pure form of tobacco.
If centre accepts the state decision then along with previously banned products --gutka, pan masala (with tobacco and nicotine) Khaini too will be included. The state Health Secretary Sanjay Kumar was quoted as saying,"The law says anything edible with tobacco or nicotine cannot be permitted. Khaini is pure tobacco. If the Centre accepts the recommendation, khaini will be regulated under FSSA."
The recommendation has come from Socio-Economic and Educational Development Society (SEEDS), an organisation which works to control tobacco consumption across the state. The organisation officials wrote to the health department to include khaini as a food product under FSSA. Seeds Executive Director Deepak Mishra said, "Khaini is the most prevalent form of smokeless tobacco used in Bihar. As per the Global Adult Tobacco Survey-2 of 2016-17, 25.9% of the state’s population use tobacco in different forms, and 20.4% of them are addicted to khaini."
He further added “Three civil societies, including SEEDS, support the task force. I presented a similar motion against khaini at the meeting. The health secretary asked FSSA officials to look into the possibility of classifying khaini as a food product."
Khaini ban will help to reduce the consumption of smokeless tobacco to a considerable extent. Moreover, the World Health Organisation (WHO) study also says that tobacco use is one of the main risk factors for diseases like cancer. Khaini is one of the major causes of mouth cancer in Bihar.