(Daily News Scan - DNS English) Electronic Cigarettes (e-Cigarettes)

(Daily News Scan - DNS English) Electronic Cigarettes (e-Cigarettes)

Important Points:

E cigarettes are expected to be banned in India soon. It is one of the 100 days goals of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. After completing 100 days of its second term on September 7, the government will send an ordinance to the Health Ministry for banning the manufacture, sale and marketing of e- cigarettes.

E cigarettes are the electronic smoking device. It is also known as Electronic Nicotine Delivery System (ENDS). It is a battery operated device which creates an aerosol by heating a mix of liquid nicotine, propylene glycol, water, glycerin and flavor giving the feel of smoking a real cigarette when inhaled. This device made its first appearance in the Chinese market in 2004 and was sold as healthy alternative to tobacco. As per the reports of World Health Organization, the industry for e – cigarettes has grown from a single Chinese manufacturer to several manufacturers globally, with almost 500 brands and 8000 flavors. The users of e cigarettes are called as vaper whereas the process of using it is known as vaping.

As per the Indian Council of Medical Research - The use of e-cigarettes damages almost all body system impacting the life course from prebirth till death. The cartridges used in e cigarettes are filled with nicotine, flavoring agents and other chemicals. A cartridge contains nicotine of about 20 packs of regular cigarettes, acting as prospective source of nicotine addiction. Studies have revealed, nicotine shows a varied degree of release of potential carcinogens which are responsible for causing cancer in living tissue. The liquid vaporizing solutions also contain toxic chemicals and metals that are responsible for adverse health effects like cancers and diseases related to heart lungs and brains. Studies indicate that e cigarette often considered less toxic than the smoke of normal cigarette; is harmful for children, adolescents and foetuses in pregnant women.

It was claimed that the e cigarette would help people quit smoking but it has in fact encouraged people to start smoking as it is marketed as a product with no harmful effects. A research done in 2016 on 27 individuals globally, found three deaths due to nicotine poisoning. The reports also showed harmful effects such as respiratory ailments and gastro intestinal problems.

The import, distribution and selling of e cigarettes has been growing in India. In 2015, Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration approached Drug Controller General of India to take action to regulate the business of e cigarettes and had sent notices to 23 importers of liquid nicotine in Mumbai. A few months ago the Union Health Ministry formed a working group to assess the effect of e cigarette on the Indian population and if it needed prohibition. In the month of June, Drugs Technical Advisory Board approved on the proposal to regulate Electronic Nicotine Delivery System calling them drugs and prohibit their sale in the country.

The use of e cigarettes is not much old and laws relating to it are still in progress. Therefore countries keep changing laws based on information’s and few of them still do not have law relating to this. Vaping laws vary from country to country. Some countries consider e cigarettes as illegal and others permit its use but within restrictions. Mainly it is prohibited in Asia, Middle East and South America.

The Union Health Ministry is planning to bring out an ordinance to ban production, import, distribution and sale of electronic cigarettes. The prohibition of E cigarettes ordinance 2019 will provide an imprisonment of maximum one year and a penalty of RS 1 lakh against first time violators and it may go upto three years of jail and 5 lakh of penalty for repeated offenders. Under the constitution health is a state subject, any move to ban manufacture and sale of any product on health grounds needs to come from state government.

States like Punjab, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Bihar, UP, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Mizoram have already banned use and sale of e cigarettes, hookah and vape. The Punjab state Drug Controller in 2013 declared e cigarettes illegal, stating they contained liquid nicotine which is an unregistered drug in India.

The representatives of ENDS are against the reports issued by the ICMR stating that e cigarette is harmful and has some adverse effects. The ICMR has stated that it hadn’t done any research or study on the e cigarette rather it took the help of researches available at the international level regarding the harmful effects of e cigarettes. Thus, the Trade Representatives of ENDS In India has raised questions on the scientific documents given by the government for abolition of e cigarettes.

The sales of e cigarettes have risen especially among the adolescents. The sale of these products from retail shops makes it difficult to track the age of its buyers. Some of the countries like Europe have banned sales to children under age 18. American health groups have been demanding to keep e cigarettes in the category of tobacco and keep tough restrictions for the same. Similarly, Indian government should also bring out rules like these to regulate the usage of e cigarettes especially among the children and control the selling of product from online platforms as well.

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