Betel chew not banned under new regulations

The Health Ministry yesterday said regular consumption of betel and arecanut would not be affected by new regulations banning the manufacture and import of smokeless tobacco products.

Chairman of the National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol (NATA), Palitha Abeykoon said, in a statement that the new regulation banned the manufacture, import and sale of smokeless tobacco products and tobacco-based electronic cigarettes.

Manufacture, import and sale of sweetened, coloured or flavoured cigarettes have also been banned under the new regulation.

The NATA explained that the regulation had been introduced in an effort to quash the addiction of students and youth to consuming tobacco-based products such as Mava and Babul which contain toxic chemicals.

Reports indicate that the consumption of the aforementioned products leads to a number of health complications, including but not limited to, oral cancer, mental illnesses and diseases associated with the gastrointestinal system.

Dr. Abeykoon said Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne had gazetted the relevant regulations banning the manufacture, import and sale of smokeless tobacco-based products on September 01, 2016.

He said that the regulations did not ban the traditional betel with arecanut.

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