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Companies flout law on tobacco in tooth care products

Up to 68% of adolescents in India use dental products containing tobacco, despite a law barring manufacturers from using tobacco as an ingredient in any toothpaste or toothpowder, reveals a study in this week's BMJ.

The authors believe that many companies are taking advantage of a widespread misconception in India that tobacco is good for the teeth by packaging and positioning their products as dental care products.

Researchers surveyed samples of school students aged 13-15 in 14 Indian states. The use of tobacco products as dentifrice varied from 6% (Goa) to 68% (Bihar).

Of the specific products, tobacco toothpaste and tooth powder were common in all states. Other dentifrice products containing tobacco included mishri (roasted and powdered tobacco), gudakhu (paste of tobacco and molasses), and tobacco water used for gargling.

The 1992 amendment to India's Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940 barred manufacturers from using tobacco as an ingredient in any toothpaste or toothpowder, say the authors. But, ten years on, this study shows clearly that the regulations have not been implemented adequately.


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Contact: Emma Dickinson
edickinson@bmj.com
207-383-6529
BMJ-British Medical Journal
5-Feb-2004


Page: 1

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