The state cabinet has agreed in principle to ban the sale of gutkha and paan masala in the state. It has asked the Food and Drugs Department to come up with a formal proposal in the next weekly cabinet meeting. The issue was mooted even as the cabinet decided to upgrade dental health care in the state, when it was pointed out that gutkha was one of the major reasons for oral diseases such as cancer. Three senior ministers confirmed the development.
The state had unsuccessfully attempted to ban gutkha in 2002 first and then in 2008, but encountered legal hurdles to the ban. In 2010, the state banned the sale of gutkha and cigarettes within 100 metres of schools and colleges. States such as Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Goa and Bihar have banned the sale of gutkha.