Assessment of Gutka ban in Maharashtra: findings from a focus group discussion

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International Journal of Head & Neck Surgery

According to Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) India 2009-2010,  around  8.3% (13.4%  among  male and  2.5% amongfemale)  of people  in Maharashtra  are gutka  users.  Gutkaconsumption not only causes oral cancer,  but has also beenlinked  with  development  of  oral  submucous  fibrosis,  aprecancerous lesion. Considering its harmful effects, gutka andpan masala were banned by  Maharashtra Government  fromJuly 19, 2012 disallowing their sale, manufacture, distributionand storage. Though the ban has come into enforcement, theevidence stating the extent of its implementation is sparse. Theobjectives of the study were to learn about perception of gutkaban, impact of the ban on gutka consumption, changes in thetrend of tobacco  related products consumption,  availability ofgutka to the public on demand and economic effects of the ban on users.

A Focus Group Discussion was conducted among currentand ex-gutka users on January 24, 2013 at Healis SekhsariaInstitute for  Public Health, Navi Mumbai, India. A total of  11male, ex-gutka users from different professions, participated inthe discussion. The FGD lasted for 40 to 45 minutes. The verbalconsent for participation  in the  FGD was  taken  from  therespondents.

The findings showed that  with enforcement of the ban, 3out of 11 respondents completely stopped consumption of gutkaor any other tobacco product, whereas the rests switched toother tobacco products. All the respondents were aware aboutgutka ban  and  agreed  that its  a good  step  to  reduce  itsconsumption; however, most of them felt that the ban has notbeen implemented properly. According to them, the  vendorsstill manage  to sell gutka to  their known regular customers.Since the ban has helped in compelling most of the users toquit gutka, it clearly implies that enforcement of ban with properimplementation is required to diminish  gutka consumptionamong people.

Gauri Dhumal, Prakash C Gupta. Assessment OF Gutka ban in Maharashtra: Findings from Focus Group Discussion. Int J Head Neck Surg; 2013; 4(3): 115-118