Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi Friday announced a ban on the sale of select tobacco products in the state to battle cancer. But there is no ban on cigarettes, bidis and khaini.Manjhi said the government had decided to ban tobacco products such as pan masala, zarda and sugandhit supari. "Tobacco products are not only harmful and dangerous for health, they are the main cause of increasing number of cancer cases in Bihar," he said at a function. "In view of this, the government is taking a decision to ban the sale of tobacco products," Manjhi said.
The Bihar government had banned gutka some two years ago.Earlier, Manjhi said the tax on tobacco products would be doubled from 30 percent to 60 percent to decrease their consumption.At present there is a 30 percent tax on tobacco products, barring khaini and bidis, in the state.Raw tobacco was last year exempt from taxes to help thousands of farmers who grow tobacco. According to one survey, every second adult in Bihar is addicted to khaini. About 63 percent of men and 35 percent of women in Bihar consume it.According to experts, an increase of 10 percent in taxes would decreases consumption by five percent.