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Assam contemplates broad tobacco and liquor ban

04 Apr 2013. Assam Health, Family and Welfare Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said bans on cigarettes, bidis, all forms of smokeless tobacco and liquor may follow the initiative to ban gutkha, The Telegraph reported.

“After the Assembly passes the bill on gutkha ban, the government, in the second phase, will ban all kinds of smokeless tobacco products. In the third phase, it will impose a ban on smoking tobacco like cigarette and bidi. If possible, we will also prohibit the sale of liquor in the state,” Sarma reportedly told the state legislature. A draft bill to ban gutkha is before the state cabinet, the Calcutta newspaper said on its website.

With a comprehensive tobacco ban, Assam would go beyond actions of many Indian states to remove gutkha, a chewing tobacco usually mixed with betel nuts, herbs and spices, from retail shelves. (ci)