Paan Masala Spit Spreads Covid-19! But it Makes No Sense Govt Allowing Paan Masala Shops to Open?
Paan Masala Spit Spreads Covid-19! But it Makes No Sense Govt Allowing Paan Masala Shops to Open? Could it be that Vikram Kothari, the Son of “Father of Paan Masala” (Paan Parag) Late Sri Mansukh Lal Mahadev Bhai Kothari might have bribed the Central Government with BIG BUCKS to open the Smokeless Tobacco business post 4 May? Or could it be that our beloved PM Modi is trying to be nice to the North Indians, because majority of them are users of Paan Masala, Gutka, and other smoke-less tobacco- are questions people may ask!
Mangaluru: Not long ago, following close on its heels, when Team Mangalorean had published (Ref: Masks must in B’luru; fine for spitting, urinating in public ), where in Bengaluru if you spit, urinate , you will be fined Rs 1000 each; and (Ref: Sale of Chewing Tobacco, Gutka, Pan Masala etc Banned by DC Effective 29 April ), where our DC Sindhu Rupesh had issued strict orders to ban the sale of Paan Masala, Gutka etc- and Team Mangalorean had also published two awareness articles on the spread of Covid-19/Coronavirus disease (Ref: Spitting in Public can Spread Coronavirus: Ban Smokeless Tobacco Products) and (Ref: Public Enemy No 1 during Covid-19 Scare! City Cardiologist Urges Dist Admin to Ban Paan & Gutka Shops )- but few days later, we are hearing that the Central government after 4 May, will allow liquor shops and also PAAN MASALA shops to OPEN.
With this decision by the Centre to open Paan Masala shops, where gutka, zarda, and other smokeless-tobacco items are allowed, and the spit is discarded on the streets, walls, pillars etc-thereby abusing Swachh Bharath, and more than that, also spreading the COVID-19 virus, as per researchers and doctors. So what was the need of allowing paan masala shops to open, when there is a risk of spreading COVID-19 when people spit after consuming paan masala, gutka etc.? When there were news and alerts that “chewing smokeless tobacco products, paan masala and areca nut (supari) increases the production of saliva followed by a very strong urge to spit, spitting in public places could enhance the spread of the COVID-19,”-and these statements were from the ministry in a letter to chief secretaries of all states and union territories.
The Union Health Ministry had asked all states to prohibit the use and spitting of smokeless tobacco in public places to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. In view of the increasing danger of the coronavirus pandemic, the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) had also appealed to people to refrain from consuming smokeless tobacco products and spitting in public places. The letter had also stated that the state and Union Territory governments have necessary authority under the Epidemic Diseases Act, the Disaster Management Act and under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code 1860 and the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPc) to deal with COVID-19.
The letter had also stated, “In this background, it is requested that necessary preventive measures may be taken under the appropriate law to prohibit the use and spitting of chewing smokeless tobacco products in public,”. Then why did the Modi Government make a U-Turn, thereby ignoring and making a fool of the earlier letter, and now allowing the paan masala shops to open after 4 May? It should be noted that few states like Bihar, Jharkhand, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra, Haryana, Nagaland and Assam have already issued orders on the ban of the use of smokeless tobacco products and spitting in public places during the COVID-19 epidemic. But no matter which state has banned or not banned, the Central government should not have allowed the paan masala shops to open during this ongoing pandemic. Bah humbug!
Sources reveal about Coronavirus Outbreak, that ‘Spitting in public is not just gross, it’s A Health Hazard’, as per experts and doctors, and one city Cardiologist Dr Padmanabha Kamath- Interventional Cardiologist at KMC, Mangaluru, who has noticed quite a few paan masala shops in the City operating during this pandemic says, “Spitting of paan masala liquid is Public Enemy Number one during the COVID-19 scare, and also during this lockdown the sales of these tobacco products are unaffected. Chewing and spitting will eventually result in a bigger health hazard. ( including Covid through droplets). It’s time that the Government and district admin bans these tobacco substances before it is too late. Yes, We all know the dreadful Corona Virus Spreads through fomites and droplets. If you look at the larger picture, these Pan masala, Tobacco and Zarda are sold rampantly in all the petty shops across the City. After chewing them, the normal response is to spit it out, and there comes the biggest health hazard for others”.
So, while this sickening habit can make people’s life infectious, many people have this habit of spitting anywhere and everywhere- while walking, while driving their vehicles or being driven. Just look at the red stains on the walls, buildings, streets etc. from spitting. Roads and public places are nothing more than bathrooms for them where they can unleash a stream of saliva directly in the path of people. Saliva carries live germs for more than 24 hours and can cause every respiratory disease including COVID-19 mainly because it is caused by respiratory droplets and transmission may occur when these droplets enter the mouths, noses, or eyes of people who are nearby. Also, the spit does not just contain saliva, but sometimes it also has mucus which is a habitat of many kinds of germs.
While many are looking forward to the ban on spitting from paan masala in public spaces has been put in place in order to curb the virus from spreading, it is sad to note that the central government is encouraging the sale of smokeless-tobacco. And now during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, awareness of the disastrous effects of spitting must be publicized in all media, along with imposing penalties on anyone found spitting in public places or offices, say experts, including Dr Kamath. While cases of COVID-19 and deaths due to it are increasing, it is the time of the hour to see that the disease doesn’t spread more- and we should urge the govt to ban paan masala shops. According to Dr Kamath, spitting can cause the spread of COVID-19 as the saliva of an infected person can carry the virus for more than 24 hours. So, why is the govt being so ignorant, when it comes to the safety of the people. Let’s all join and fight to keep the City Clean from Spit, and also stay SAFE from such spitting by these Covidiots?