Answer Writing Practice for UPSC IAS & UPPSC Mains Exam: Paper - IV (General Studies – III) - 10 October 2019

Answer Writing Practice for UPSC IAS Mains Exam


Answer Writing Practice for UPSC IAS & UPPSC Mains Exam


UPSC Syllabus:

  • Paper-IV: General Studies -III (Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management)

Q. What are E-Cigarettes? Critically examine Governments’ initiative to ban E-cigarettes in India. (250 words)

Model Answer:

  • Why in News?
  • Introduction: What is e-cigarette?
  • Positive impact of banning E-Cigarettes
  • Negative consequences of banning E-Cigarettes
  • Conclusion

Why in News?

Following the recommendations of a Group of Ministers (GoM) the Union Finance Minister announced to ban the consumption, production, manufacturing, import, export, transport, sale, distribution, storage and advertisement of e-cigarettes.

Introduction: What is e-cigarette?

E-cigarettes are the most common form of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS). It is a battery-operated device that vaporizes a solution and do not burn or use tobacco leaves. The vapour which is made by the device is then inhaled by the user.

The main constituents of the solution, in addition to nicotine when nicotine is present, are propylene glycol, with or without glycerol and flavouring agents. It also contains some solutions that are considered to be "toxicants".

In terms of shape and size, most e-cigarettes resemble ordinary cigarettes, cigars and smoking pipes, but of late brands have started experimenting with newer designs that may resemble whistles, pens etc. E-cigarettes are known by many different names. They are often called e-cigs, e-hookahs, vapes, vape pens, tank systems, or mods.

Positive impact of banning E-Cigarettes:

Initially, e-cigarettes emerged as a safer alternative to traditional smoking. Later questions were raised over the addictive nature and health-related risks involved in smoking tobacco.

  • The use of e-cigarettes has increased exponentially, especially among youth and children.
  • E-cigarettes sometimes contain nicotine solution, which is highly addictive as well as contain other ingredients including flavouring agents and vaporisers that are injurious to health.
  • Apart from nicotine, e-cigarettes may also be used for delivery of other psychoactive substances.
  • The disease burden due to tobacco poses enormous and inequitable economic loss to society and also presents a formidable challenge to the country’s health care systems.
  • The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had cautioned against the growing use of e-cigarettes citing studies which noted that use of e-cigarettes could have adverse effects on humans, which include DNA damage, carcinogenic, cellular, molecular and immunological toxicity, respiratory, cardiovascular and neurological disorders, and adverse impact on fetal development and pregnancy.
  • Article 47 of the Indian Constitution states that the state should raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living and to improve public health. This provision of the Constitution supports the ban of e-cigarettes.

Negative consequences of banning E-Cigarettes:

  • The ban in India is deeply controversial as the government has not banned cigarettes and chewable tobacco, which are directly linked to causing cancer, heart ailments and strokes.
  • The government’s crackdown on e-cigarettes seems counter-intuitive, especially when its approach to limit the use of tobacco is greater regulation, not a complete clampdown.
  • India is also the world's third-largest producer of tobacco, the WHO says, and tobacco farmers are an important vote bank for political parties.
  • The government continues to own about 28% stake in ITC, a company which accounts for nearly 85% of the cigarette market in India.
  • The success of the ban in India is very less as people indulge in various underground activities and black marketeering and acquire the products banned by the Government.

Conclusion:

The vapour produced by e-cigarettes does not contain the estimated 7,000 chemicals present in tobacco smoke but it does contain a number of substances that could potentially be harmful. They have been pushed by producers, and also by some governments, including in Europe, as a safer alternative to cigarette smoking – and as a way to kick the habit. However, smoking in itself is harmful to our health and should be curtailed slowly through various corrective steps by the government.

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