After months of speculation that the Centre could ban electronic cigarettes, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare finally issued an advisory to all states earlier this week to ban Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), which includes e-cigarettes, vape pens, e-hookah, etc.

As per the advisory, the move is made in ‘larger public health interest’. These electronic devices meant for consuming nicotine were unsafe for the health of its customers, which consisted largely of youth and non-smokers.

These groups are labelled as ‘vulnerable groups’ in the advisory issued by the Ministry because of their tendency to get addicted to such things quicker than usual.

ban electronic cigarettes

The advisory from the Centre read:

“States/Union Territories are advised in larger public health interest, and in order to prevent the initiation of ENDS by non-smokers and youth, with special attention to vulnerable groups, to ensure that any Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) including e-Cigarettes, Heat Not-Burn devices, Vape, e-Sheesha, e-Nicotine Flavoured Hookah are not sold.” 

The Ministry has banned all activities related to ENDS, including selling, manufacturing, distributing, trading, importing and advertising.

Lately, the Delhi High Court has been very critical of the government for not taking any action against the e-cigarettes industry, which they labelled as the ‘new emerging threat’.

Growing Industry

Before we dwell deep into this, let me explain what exactly an electronic cigarette is and why there is so much of hubbub to ban electronic cigarettes.

An e-cigarette is a battery-operated device that has cartridges filled with nicotine and other chemicals, which are turned into vapor for a person to inhale. It is important to note that e-cigarettes do not burn tobacco, but does have nicotine, which is addictive in nature.

ban electronic cigarettes

Also Read: WHO Observes World No Tobacco Day, Urges Firms To Take Up Plain Packaging For Cigarettes. Will It Work?

It isn’t a surprise to see the e-cigarettes industry being viewed as an emerging threat. Today, it is a multi-billion dollar industry, with its growth potential in double digits.

When e-cigarettes began to be commercially produced on a large scale, it was viewed as a disruptive change in the tobacco market. People began to use e-cigarettes as an alternative to normal cigarettes that contain tobacco.

Today, Big Tobacco – the five largest tobacco industry companies, dominate the industry. These companies aren’t short of know-how as to how to expand their businesses.

With their eyes set on India (which has a huge demand coming largely from its youth) as their next target, it is important that the country has strict regulations for the industry.

Effects of ENDS

ENDS are nothing but sophisticated ways of inhaling nicotine and other similar chemicals. They come in various forms, sizes and flavors including e-cigarettes, personal vaporizers, vape pens and e-hookah.

ban electronic cigarettes
E-Hookah pens

Their popularity has shot up in the recent years, especially among the youth and young adults. It is treated as a way to quit smoking, but there is no study that backs the fact that smoking e-cigarettes increases quit rates.

However, it is important to point out the fact that its users are youngsters and non-smokers, who don’t smoke cigarettes in the first place, and rather start smoking them after trying these methods.

The chemical compound of the liquid filled in these devices can contaminate the skin, which can lead to nicotine poisoning. It contains chemicals which may be toxic.

As found in a study by Harvard Medical School, chronic nicotine exposure can even lead to insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes. Inhaling nicotine leads to increase in heart rate as well as blood pressure.

The kind of influence that these devices have had over the youth, intervention from the government was needed. With government getting strict with regard to tobacco-related products, a move to ban electronic cigarettes was due for some time now.

Image Credits: Google Images

Sources: Times of India, NDTV, Economic Times + more

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