Newham Council cracks down on sale of chewing tobacco around Green Street

The council is warning that is cracking down on the sale of cancer-inducing chewing tobacco, called paan, around Green Street in East Ham.

It comes after about 10,000 packets of paan, a mixture of nuts and spices wrapped in a leaf and widely used by the Asian community, were seized earlier in the year.

Chewing tobacco is a tradition dating back hundreds of years, and considered by some to be a palate cleanser and breath freshener. Users spit the mixture onto the pavements, leaving unsightly dark red, blood-like stain, according to the council.

Cllr Unmesh Desai, executive member for crime and anti-social behaviour, said: “Paan staining is unsightly and expensive to clean. We simply won’t stand for it. Users are risking their health —and even their lives.”

The products are associated with serious health problems such as oral cancer, serious dental problems, heart attack and stroke, and problems in pregnancy.

To report shops selling paan illegally visit or contact 01622 626520.