E-cigarettes not a good alternative to smoking, state planning to ban it
Electronic Nicotine Delivery System (ENDS), popularly known as e-cigarettes, is being promoted as a lifestyle product among the youth and it is being popularised as a safe product but experts say that tests have detected the presence of toxic chemicals in it.
Addressing a media sensitisation workshop on ‘Tobacco Free Rajasthan campaign’ on Tuesday organised by an NGO – Vaagdhara in Jaipur, Dr Rakesh Gupta, consultant, tobacco cessation at a private hospital said e-cigarette has got into the Indian market in the last four years and around 50% of the Indian e-cigarette market is online. He said China is the biggest supplier.
Dr Gupta said nicotine is addiction forming and poisonous to human beings. Use of nicotine may lead to heart disease, respiratory disease etc. He said six states Karnataka, Kerala, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Mizoram and Maharashtra have already banned e-cigarettes under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940 and Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restriction on Sales) regulation, 2011.
“In Rajasthan, the state government is making efforts to ban it and hopefully, it will succeed,” he said.
Dr Gupta also stated that e-cigarettes that are being promoted as an alternative to quit smoking but the users will further move to active smoking. Along with those who want to quit tobacco might shift to e-cigarette, which affects the quitting rate and those who have quit tobacco may shift to e-cigarette. Looking at these reasons, e-cigarette should be banned, he added.
He also stated that 6,500 youths below 18 years daily start using tobacco in India, while death rate due to tobacco-related diseases is 3,500 per day.
The campaign manager Priyanka Lodha said that in March this year, two surveys were conducted in Kota and Jaipur respectively to find the availability of e-cigarettes. In Kota, a survey was conducted among 687 tobacco vendors of which 18% were selling e-cigarettes and in Jaipur out of 450 tobacco vendors, the availability of this product was 8 %. She appealed to the government to make strict laws to stop online sale of e-cigarettes.
Govind Pareek, joint director, department of information and public relations, the government of Rajasthan said youth are lured by new things and e-cigarette is one among them. Awareness about the harmful effects of this product should be spread so that youth are not lured towards it and save themselves from getting caught in the tentacles of tobacco.
He said additional chief secretary medical and health Veenu Gupta on Friday issuing an order has formed a committee of five members to give expert information about the ill-effects of this electronic cigarette on health. This committee will submit its report on June 15.
BJP MLA from Nohar and brand ambassador of the campaign Abhishek Matoria said: “I personally will take up this matter with the government so that it is banned in the state.”
Vaagdhara secretary Jayesh Joshi said directorate of local bodies should soon make licence compulsory for selling tobacco, which will reduce the availability.