Highly addictive and a known carcinogen, gutkha is currently the subject of much controversy in India. Many states have sought to curb its immense popularity by taxing sales of gutkha heavily or by banning it outright.
Excessive gutkha use can eventually lead to loss of appetite, promote unusual sleep patterns, and loss of concentration along with other tobacco related problems. A gutkha user can easily be identified by prominently stained teeth ranging from dirty yellowish-orange to reddish-black. The stains are difficult to remove by normal brushing and usually need the attention of a dentist.
After gutkha is consumed, it is generally spat onto a wall or at the ground, causing an unsightly red stain that is quite resistant to the elements. Some building owners have taken to combating this unpleasantness by painting murals of gods on their walls, with the idea that gutkha chewers would not spit on a god.