Dear Editor, With a motive to save society from the dangerous consequences of chewable tobacco Jammu and Kashmir government has totally banned import, manufacturing, transportation, stocking, sale of chewable tobacco and other similar products which contain chewable tobacco as one of its ingredients. But despite a complete ban, the open sale of these ban products are still continuing due to laxity on part of the concerned law enforcing agencies. A quick round of the city is just enough to conclude that none of the shopkeepers, whether small or big has stopped selling these products which are eating into all age groups, especially the youth. In fact, the shopkeepers after the ban have started earning more as these products are now being sold in black and at much higher rate than the printed one. A sachet of Rs 7 is being sold at Rs 15 and that with MRP of Rs 10 is selling at Rs 20 to 25 and those who are habitual of these products are buying it without any hesitation. Because of open availability of these products even children below the age of 14 years are seen chewing these products. At Jewel Chowk, which is said to be the centre of the city there are many shops that sell these products. Ample free space is available there where labour class, hawkers reside and I have seen many times these children consuming tobacco products. On an average they consume 5-8 Chutki packets in a single day and no one is there to keep a check on this. I believe it is lack of awareness as these people are mostly illiterate and also it is a setback for the concerned agencies who have failed to implement the law and make society tobacco free. The need of the hour is to implement the ban completely and moreover, make people, especially the young generation aware about the harmful effects of these products. D.P Singh (Raju), Jammu.
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