Published: 2017-11-23

Gutkha ban in Chennai, India: is there any impact?

Deepak K., Angeline M., Vidhubala E., Sundarmoorthy C., Barsha Basumallik


Background: Gutkha is banned under Food Safety Act, India, effective from May, 2013 in Tamil Nadu. The current study is to find out the impact of Gutka ban on sale and consumption in Chennai city.

Methods: Shop keepers (n=90) selling Gutkha and tobacco users (90) were chosen using stratified simple random sampling method from 15 zones of Chennai. Three different types of shops (platform/permanent/petty) were identified and a structured questionnaire was used. The questions included for shopkeepers were awareness about Gutkha ban, supply mode, sale and price difference and questions for users included motivation to quit, reduction in use, availability and price difference.

Results: No shop had open display of Gutkha and all the shopkeepers and users were aware of the ban. Shopkeepers either bought Gutkha from the whole sale market (58.9%) or the agent (41.1%). Raid was conducted at 81% of the shops. There was a significant reduction in the sale after the ban (p<0.05). Users did not find it difficult to procure as it was easily available; however, price has increased up to 300%. Users felt guilty (18.9%) and fearful (23.3%) when using banned products. Users were motivated to quit (22.4%), made attempts to quit (58.9%) and felt the need for professional support to quit (38.9%). Significant difference was observed in the number of sachets used before and after ban (p<0.05) by the users.

Conclusions: The ban did not have any impact on the availability of Gutkha, however it had a little impact on users. Stringent enforcement is crucial to achieve the purpose. 


Gutkha ban, Sale, Motivation to quit, Availability, Price

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