According to health ministry officials, the aim will be to impose heavy taxes and initiate strict guidelines for the advertisement of SLT products
In absence of a uniform policy on smokeless tobacco (SLT) consumption that can help curb its harmful effects on health, over 20 countries are coming together to form guidelines. The first meet is set to take place in Delhi from August 16 to 18.
The global hub of World Health Organisation (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in Noida along with the Union health ministry is on the forefront to form the policy. According to health ministry officials, the aim will be to impose heavy taxes and initiate strict guidelines for the advertisement of SLT products.
“This is the first time a global policy is being looked at for SLTs. It’s important to take a stand considering at present India is one of the biggest exporters of SLT products,” said Dr Ravi Mehrotra, director, WHO FCTC.
Globally, 90.4 per cent of SLT users live in 11 countries — India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Pakistan, US, China, Indonesia, Nepal, Madagascar, Germany, and Uzbekistan.
Harmful health effects of SLT include cancer, pre-cancer, cardiovascular effects, adverse pregnancy outcomes, respiratory infection, addiction and poor oral health that lead to early mortality.
As per a 2015 report, 352 million people 121 countries consume SLT. About 95 per cent of these live in developing countries.
World over, SLT like snus, snuff, gutka, tambaku, khaini, qiwam, etc are consumed