Do you know why E-cigarettes are banned in India?

On September 18, the government of India banned the production, sale, import and distribution of the Electronic Nicotine Delivery System (ENDS) or e-cigarettes, vaping devices or vapes. With this decision, India has joined hand with some of the countries of the world like Singapore, Japan, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, who have already banned the e-cigarette in their countries. After the ban is imposed, the violator of the rule can be fined with up to RS 5 Lakh or will have to serve jail term of up to 3 years.

"These novel products come with attractive appearances and multiple flavors and their use has increased exponentially and has acquired epidemic proportions in developed countries, especially among youth and children," the government said in a statement.

While there have been debate on the decision of the government and like many other issues, the country is divided with its opinion on this issue too. Some are in the favor of the decision saying it will help in improve the health of the people while other are against the decision of the government. Sentences like “why only ban the e-cigarette and not traditional cigarette” are common. Before you make an opinion, here are some things that you should know about the e-cigarettes.

What is an e-cigarettes?

E-cigarettes are the devices that vaporize a solution using a chargeable battery. It is the most the most common form of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS). These devices do not use tobacco leaves to create the smoke. The vaporized solution are inhaled by the user as there is no tobacco to burn.

"The main constituents of the solution, in addition to nicotine when nicotine is present, are propylene glycol, with or without glycerol and flavoring agents," said the World Health Organisation. They have also said that some solutions that are considered to be "toxicants" are contained in the solutions and emissions.

Talking about the shape and size, most e-cigarettes resemble ordinary cigarettes, cigars and smoking pipes, however, in recent times, some brands have also come with some new designs such as pens and whistles.

How are e-cigarette different from traditional cigarette?

Normal cigarette uses tobacco which burns and produces smoke that are inhaled, whereas in e-cigarette there is liquid nicotine which is mixed with many other chemicals to produce the smoke. E-cigarettes are equipped with a circuit and battery that enables the liquid to vaporize and produce the smoke. Unlike traditional cigarettes which can be used only once, e-cigarettes can be charged and re-used.

The e-cigarette come in various flavors such as vanilla, chocolate, pan and many other which is one of the reason these vapes are becoming more popular among the youths and children.

What are the harm caused by e-cigarette?

There are lot of harm that can be caused by an e-cigarette. The e-cigarettes uses nicotine which is a bit more addictive than the tobacco, which is used in the traditional cigarettes. The extent of harm caused by the e-cigarettes also depend on the power of its nicotine delivery. The nicotine delivery capacity depend on the brand, strength of the solution used and the puffing style and behavior of the user.

In addition to this, there are many other harm that can be caused by the e-cigarettes. WHO says, "It can have adverse effects during pregnancy and may contribute to cardiovascular disease." It has been found that it can cause cancer and some nerve related disease that can affect the DNA.

Is the decision to ban the e-cigarette correct?

The government of India has stated that once the ban comes into force, consumption, production, manufacturing, import, export, transport, sale, distribution, storage and advertisement of e-cigarettes would become illegal in India. Justifying the ban, Nirmala Sitharaman said, "E-cigarettes were promoted as a way to get people out of their smoking habits but reports have shown that many people are not using it as weaning mechanism but are rather addicted to it." The government said the decision to ban e-cigarettes is aimed at protecting the youth, the section that is most vulnerable to the health hazards of e-cigarettes.

Despite the debate, it can be said that the ban on e-cigarette in India will definitely have some good effect on the youth and children of the country. Comparing this ban with the ban of traditional cigarette is not correct in itself as there is huge difference between the two. And the major difference is the thinking of the people that e-cigarette are not harmful and is an alternative approach to validate smoking, the logic which cannot be bought at any cost.

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