Observed circumvention of the gutka smokeless tobacco ban in mumbai, india

Keyuri Adhikari, Mangesh S. Pednekar, Irina Stepanov, Arjun Singh, Sampada Nikam, Hitesh Singhavi, Vikram Gota, Jasjit S. Ahluwalia, Pankaj Chaturvedi, Prakash C. Gupta, Samir S. Khariwala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objectives: Gutka is industrially manufactured in India and some Indian states have institut-ed bans on the sale of manufactured gutka as a public health initiative. We explored whether gutka was still available for purchase after the ban and also sought to observe methods of ban circumvention. Methods: We visited 5 different markets at different locations separated by at least 15-20 km around the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) area, consisting of Mumbai and its satellite towns in Maharashtra, India during August-September, 2019. In each location, pur-veyors were queried as to the availability of gutka. Results: Tobacco purchases were made in 5 locations/sections of MMR. At all markets, banned gutka was not displayed, and could only be purchased after requesting from the shopkeeper. Three methods of ban circumvention were observed: (1) packages marked ‘export only’; (2) use of twin packaging in which pan masala and tobacco are sold together for immediate mixing to create gutka; and, (3) non-descript packaging without mention of ‘gutka’. Conclusions: Although not readily displayed in shops, gutka is readily available in MMR, despite a statewide ban in Maharashtra. Marketers have used multiple methods to circumvent the statewide gutka ban.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-335
Number of pages5
JournalTobacco Regulatory Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2020

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  • Gutka
  • Gutka ban
  • India
  • Regulation circumvention
  • Smokeless tobacco


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