1Professor, Department of Public Health Dentistry, Sri Sai College of Dental Surgery, Vikarabad, Telangana State, India 501101
2Reader, Department of Public Health Dentistry, Sri Sai College of Dental Surgery, Vikarabad, Telangana State, India
3Senior Lecturer, Department of Public Health Dentistry, Sri Sai College of Dental Surgery, Vikarabad, Telangana State, India
Introduction: Gutkha contains harmful and carcinogenic chemicals and oral cancer caused by tobacco usage has been reported as a major preventable cause of death worldwide by the World Health Organization. The Telangana state government implemented a ban on gutkha usage starting in 2013 but how effective this ban has been remains unclear. Objectives: The objective of this study was to determine the actual impact of the gutkha ban on users and vendors. Methodology: A cross-sectional study was conducted among gutkha users and tobacco vendors in Ranga Reddy district, Telangana. Based on a pilot study the sample size was determined as 368 and 384 for users and vendors respectively. Two separate questionnaires were administered to these groups. The parameters studied mainly included knowledge regarding the ban, and its impact. Results: About 49.1% of the users were aware of the ban on gutkha. Newspapers were the main source of information regarding the ban as reported by 45.3% of users. After the ban, 29.8% of gutkha users switched to other tobacco products. Awareness of health hazards and non-availability of gutkha was the most important reason stated for quitting or reducing consumption. Conclusion: The perspective of ban when visualized from the users point of view depicted a negative impact while the vendors portrayed a positive impact. Considering the addictive potential of the ingredients of gutkha, recording the effects of the ban on regular consumers and determining whether they can still obtain the products by illicit trade, would be noteworthy for implementation of strict rules.