World No-Tobacco Day: Vaping is a huge risk to Gen Z! - Hindustan Times
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World No-Tobacco Day: Vaping is a huge risk to Gen Z!

By Ismat Tahseen
May 30, 2024 05:38 PM IST

E-cigarettes are said to contain nicotine and potentially- harmful toxins like heavy metals that can damage the lungs and respiratory system.

Tomorrow is World No-Tobacco Day and while the thrust of the issue will be about stubbing out and kicking the butt, one more habit — vaping — needs to stop, today. Over time, reports have sounded the alarm on the use of e-cigarettes (EC) as they are said to contain nicotine and potentially harmful toxins such as heavy metals and other chemicals, which can be detrimental to health. Seen as a weaning tool for those wanting to ditch the smoking habit, these also have flavours like fruit, mint and menthol making them addictive to the youth.

E-cigarettes contain toxic chemicals that are extremely harmful to the body((Shutterstock; Pic for representation only )
E-cigarettes contain toxic chemicals that are extremely harmful to the body((Shutterstock; Pic for representation only )

In India, possession of ECs and similar devices in any form, quantity or manner is in violation of the Prohibition of Electronic Cigarette Act (PECA) 2019, the Union Health Ministry has said. That said, last year, the Anti-Narcotics Cell (ANC) of the Mumbai Police, raided paan shops in the city and registered cases against 12 people. Doctors reiterate why ECs are a huge worry and why they are so harmful.

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Can cause severe respiratory problems

Talking about the harmful effects of taking to vapes, Dr Gurmeet Singh Chabbra, Director and HOD - Pulmonology, Marengo Asia Hospitals Faridabad, says, “In September 2019, ECs were completely banned in India, but they are still available at some paan shops or shops that sell imported goods and reports say that use of ECs is on the rise among the youth. As its use is illegal, assessment of it use among patients in OPD is difficult, making it hard to quantify its use in public. What’s more, these ECs look like pens, USB flash drives, perfumes, flashlights, car key fobs etc. so they easily go unrecognised by teachers and parents of the students.”

He adds, “Diacetyl, a chemical associated with severe respiratory diseases, has been found in several sweet-flavoured ECs. Cherry-flavoured ECs have been found to contain benzaldehyde, a compound that has been associated with respiratory irritation. There are also reports of burns and chemical injuries associated with its uses.”
 

Prolonged use of ECs may increase the risk of respiratory infections and complicate lung conditions (Shutterstock)
Prolonged use of ECs may increase the risk of respiratory infections and complicate lung conditions (Shutterstock)

 

Increases cancer risk

Outlining its pitfalls, Dr Niraj Bhatt, Consultant Medical Oncologist, Bhailal Amin General Hospital, Vadodara, adds, “Consuming e-cigarettes can cause respiratory issues like coughing, gasping, and shortness of breath. Prolonged use may increase the risk of respiratory infections and complicate lung conditions. ECs contain nicotine, a key ingredient in increasing blood pressure and heart rate resulting in increasing cardiovascular risks like hypertension, heart attacks, and strokes, especially in people with previous conditions.”

He adds, “E-cigarettes also contain toxic chemicals, heavy metals and carcinogens which damage the respiratory system and promote cancer risk. Flavoured e-liquids are also dangerous as accidental swallowing causes nicotine poisoning.”

in India,the ban on the manufacture, importation, transport, sale, advertising, and distribution of e-cigarettes was announced in September 2019 (Shutterstock)
in India,the ban on the manufacture, importation, transport, sale, advertising, and distribution of e-cigarettes was announced in September 2019 (Shutterstock)

 

RULE IN INDIA

In India, possession of e-cigarettes and similar devices in any form, quantity or manner is in violation of the Prohibition of Electronic Cigarette Act (PECA) 2019, as per the Union Health Ministry.

The ban includes a prohibition on all forms of electronic nicotine delivery systems, heat not burn products, e-hookah and similar devices.
 

WORLD NO TOBACCO DAY THEME FOR 2024
The theme for World No Tobacco Day 2024 is, ‘Protecting children from tobacco industry interference’.

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