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'Tobacco-candy' stores face crackdown

Manama, March 24, 2008

A nationwide crackdown on candy containing tobacco, which is being sold to children at cold stores, has been launched, government's consumer protection officials said.

The 'chaini khaini', a mixture of sun-dried tobacco leaves and fruit flavours such as strawberry, lime and mint, is illegal in Bahrain and unlicensed by the health ministry, they said.

'However, it is more likely that it was brought to Bahrain by individuals arriving from abroad,' said an industry and commerce ministry spokesman.

The product, indigenous to India, is said to be addictive, with its daily consumption among users ranging from three to 30 times.

'After learning from some reports in the media that this product was available at several cold stores, the industry and commerce ministry contacted food safety directorate officials at the health ministry, who confirmed it,' said the spokesman.

'The ministry's consumer protection directorate launched an intensive inspection campaign at various cold stores in Bahrain to seize this type of candy.'

'This product, which contains odourless tobacco that can't be detected, has a similar hazard of other tobacco products that could cause cancer.'

The products are reportedly being sold for 50 fils and up to 200 fils.

The ministry urged parents to closely monitor their children to ensure that they don't buy the 'tobacco-candy'.

It said that if spotted at any cold store, people should report it immediately for necessary action to be taken.

The ministry's hotline for such violations is 17530096.  A similar crackdown was launched last year after it emerged that schoolchildren were getting hooked on a mix of tobacco and betel.

Stringent measures were taken in schools to check the use of concoctions, available in candy-like packets across the country despite a ban order from the Industry and Commerce Ministry.

The mixture, which is also from India, was being sold at cold stores and street kiosks at low prices and in coloured packets that resemble candy, making it appealing to children.

Officials said then that those found with such products would be prosecuted.-TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Crackdown | Candy | Tobacco |

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