Mumbai

Government mulls ban on in-flight consumption of gutka

Exempt: Currently, the DGCA does not prohibit either the carriage or consumption of chewing or smokeless tobacco on board flights.

Exempt: Currently, the DGCA does not prohibit either the carriage or consumption of chewing or smokeless tobacco on board flights.

The Union Ministry of Civil Aviation will consider a ban on in-flight consumption of gutka, after passengers raised the issue that use of chewing tobacco inside an aircraft was a nuisance for fellow passengers.

Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha recently took to Twitter to announce that the government would evaluate the suggestions for such a ban.

The rules

At present, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) does not prohibit either the carriage or consumption of chewing or smokeless tobacco on board flights. Aviation laws in other countries, like the U.S, on the other hand, allow passengers to carry chewing tobacco, but prohibit in-flight consumption of the substance.

In accordance with Rule 25 of Aircraft Rules, 1937, the DGCA Circular on Cabin Safety only mentions that ‘no person shall smoke’ inside or in and around an aircraft. Besides cigarette smoking, the ban also covers Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), popularly known as e-cigarettes, personal vaporisers, vape pens, e-cigars, e-hookah, or vaping devices, all products that produce an aerosolised mixture containing flavoured liquids and nicotine inhaled by the user.

Passenger experience

Mr. Sinha was responding to a suggestion for a ban on gutka by Jaipur resident Lali Ganguli, who said, “I have encountered several fellow passengers who consume gutka in the flight. This not only smells but it is also disturbing to see [passengers] spitting the same into bags.”

Ms. Ganguli was joined by several others who demanded that the issue be addressed by the ministry.

While aviation blogger Ajay Awthaney said this was a problem that needed to be resolved, Sanjeev Sharma from Raipur said gutka was actually used by many to mask the smell of alcohol consumed pre-flight, which made it worse.

Ms. Ganguli said that in the past month, she had experienced fellow passengers on two different Indian carriers consume chewing tobacco and that over a two-hour flight, it made her nauseated.

Sanjiv Kapoor, chief strategy and commercial officer, Vistara, responding to Ms. Ganguli’s suggestion, said, “Chewing tobacco, also known as smokeless tobacco, is indeed regulated on board aircraft in some countries. The US Federal Aviation Authority allows it to be carried, but not chewed or consumed on board. If the DGCA proposes a similar rule, I personally would fully support it.”

Though many states have banned the sale, manufacture, distribution and storage of gutka and all its variants, the product is still widely available.


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Printable version | Mar 25, 2022 3:26:50 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/government-mulls-ban-on-in-flight-consumption-of-gutka/article24018227.ece