When cigarettes first made an appearance, their adverse effects, which are rather obvious now, took a few years to come into the light. And even though e-cigarettes don’t burn tobacco, they still contain and emit potentially toxic substances. The incidence of smoking may have dropped but vaping has increased and the crux of the issue lies in the many unknowns associated with the phenomenon.

The US is already engaged in its own battle against the Juul, an e-cigarette that looks like a USB drive and contains nicotine equivalent to one pack of cigarettes. With its soaring popularity and easy access to underage kids, the brand is used a verb as ‘juuling’ instead of ‘vaping’.

India has the second largest population of smokers in the world, despite which the Indian health ministry is calling for a ban on all Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS).

Following an advisory from the ministry of health and family welfare issued last year, at least 12 states in India have banned Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS). States of Punjab, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Jharkhand have taken steps to ban the use of ENDS, claim the officials in the union health ministry.

In August 2018, the ministry had issued an advisory to all states and union territories to ensure that ENDS, e-cigarettes, heat-not-burn devices, vape, e-sheesha, e-nicotine flavoured hookah, and similar devices that enable nicotine delivery are not sold (including online sale), manufactured, distributed, traded, imported and advertised in their jurisdictions. The move came in the wake of the Delhi High Court taking strong exception to the Centre for delay in coming up with appropriate measures to tackle the “new emerging threat" of e-cigarettes in the country. While the generally accepted notion is that electronic cigarettes are less harmful than normal cigarettes, the Indian government has taken a stand that these devices could potentially spark a new generation of smokers. Their take is that children and non-smokers are using these devices and could switch to smoking actual cigarettes once they’re addicted to nicotine.

Jharkhand, a state in eastern India, has become the first state to actually implement the ban. The eastern Indian state of Jharkhand finally took the plunge and announced that it is banning the sale and usage of e-cigarettes. Notification issued by the Jharkhand's health department.

India’s rules and regulations are already so lax that underage individuals have no problem obtaining normal cigarettes, making access to e-cigarettes even easier. Terming e-cigarettes poisonous and as dangerous as regular cigarettes, the experts said the Centre and state have made efforts but clandestine online portals and dingy shops selling them in nooks and crannies across India's towns continue to function. There is a pressing need for a special mechanism by the government to keep a tab on the vendors from time

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, proposed an amendment to the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules 2018 to ban the advertisement of e-cigarettes. The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs also issued a circular recently, directing that all import consignments of e-cigarettes must be cleared first by the drug controller. There is no legislation to regulate the sale of e-cigarettes in the country, experts have said while calling for a blanket ban.

According to Dr. Pankaj Chaturvedi of Mumbai's Tata Memorial Hospital, people consuming e-cigarettes will add to the cancer burden of India. He also adds any nicotine product should be taken under strict medical supervision for controlling withdrawal symptoms during cessation therapy. We must laud the government of India for taking a tough stand against these newer nicotine delivery devices. However, it should ensure there are no loopholes at the ground level by leaving a space for small vendors to sell it illegally.

Studies have found that the percentage of students who initiate e-cigarettes and hookah smoking before 10 years of age has increased from 26 per cent to 45 per cent in the last one and half decade. According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), there were 14 lakh cancer patients in 2016. Of these, the highest number of cases was of lung and oral cancer, which is often caused by tobacco and smoking. The VHAI, which is a New Delhi-based public health organisation, has also taken up the cause.

Several countries, including Mauritius, Australia, Singapore, Korea (Democratic People's Republic), Sri Lanka and Thailand among others, have banned ENDS in their countries.

E-cigarettes are also fast becoming a fashion statement for the young. Let’s hope with the ban and the efforts of the government to ensure the health benefits and welfare of the citizens, we the citizens become responsible and contribute to the betterment of the nation and its citizens by respecting the ban on e-cigarettes.

Quit Smoking Quit Vaping.

It’s always said excess of anything is bad. So I came across a few quotes about vaping i.e. smoking e-cigarettes which say “Don’t smoke, just Vape.”, “Make Vaping your lifestyle.”, etc. It made me wonder how is quitting a habit and clinging to another a good thing. If you have the same question the following news will answer our question.

Nicotine is a highly toxic chemical and potentially carcinogenic. In fact, it will not be an exaggeration if it is considered poison. Therefore, any nicotine product should be taken under strict medical supervision for controlling withdrawal symptoms during cessation therapy, explained Dr. Pankaj Chaturvedi, oncologist, Tata Memorial Hospital.

Off late there has been an increasing popularity of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), more commonly known as e-cigarettes or “vapes" in India. E-cigarettes do not fall within the scope of existing national legislation on tobacco production, distribution, and use. Yet doctors claim they pose significant health risks to users that are frighteningly similar to those of conventional cigarettes.

As per a report prepared by the World Health Organization (WHO); ENDS emits nicotine, the addictive component of tobacco products. In addition to dependence, nicotine can have adverse effects on the development of the foetus during pregnancy and may contribute to cardiovascular disease.

“Naming 'e-cigarette' is a tactic used by the industry to fool public by giving it a tubular shape and putting a red LED at the tip which lights up when the tube is sucked to mimic cigarette smoking. It is as incorrect to call it a tobacco product as calling penicillin, a fungal product. It is a nicotine delivery device and ought to be regulated as such," said Prakash C. Gupta, Director, Healis Sekhsaria Institute of Public Health. Over 36 countries around the world have so far banned the ENDS.