Even as the calls for banning tobacco is steadily rising across the country, the Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Dinesh Trivedi said that such a step would be disastrous for farmers and a phased withdrawal is a better option.
The statement comes on the back of a new study conducted by the Tata Memorial Hospital, in association with Healis Sekhsaria Institute for Public Health and University of California, which revealed that a higher percentage of children preferred chewing tobacco instead of smoking cigarettes.
While a number of leading health experts have backed the calls for banning tobacco, Trivedi said that such a move was not practical since it would destroy the livelihood of the farmers who cultivate the tobacco crop.
Speaking at the 'Tobacco or Health' conference at Tata Memorial Hospital he said "Banning tobacco is not a practical solution; a slow withdrawal would solve the problem better. We have to remember those who depend on cultivating tobacco for their livelihood."