In spite of a Punjab government prohibition on sale of smoking products and substances containing nicotine, sale continues unhindered with neither the customers nor the seller paying any attention to the legislation. In fact, most people require not to have heard of any ordinance on the subject. The state government had prohibited the sale, storage, maker and distribution of smoking products like ‘gutkas’ and ‘pan masala’ last month. The consumption of such products can cause cancer of mouth and throat, yet those addicted to such stuff remain oblivious to such risks.
Seller hide tobacco products inside the stores and pass on the stuff to their regular clients in non-transparent bags and other such methods.
Bus-stands, railways stations , taxi stands and other public areas see such sale of tobacco as a matter of routine.
On being queried, while ignorance was the most common excuse offered, clearance of stock was also cited as a main reason.
“Since I had bought guthka in bulk, I must clear the stock or would lose a lot of money,” explained a trader.
Another shopkeeper at Lahori Gate did not display guthka, but manufacture them readily on demand. “I don’t know about any such prohibition,” he reported.