Earlier this month, India’s federal health ministry issued an advisory addressed to Indian state Governments, calling for a ban on the sales and imports of electronic cigarettes and heat-not-burn devices. The health ministry said that the devices are a “are a great health risk to the public at large, especially to children, adolescents, pregnant women and women of reproductive age”.
E-cigarettes have already been banned in at least 6 states including Karnataka, Kerala, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), and now the Tamil Nadu government has followed suit.
Banning the proven safer alternatives will be detrimental to public health
In line with arguments by health bodies from across the globe such as Public Health England (PHE), the Association of Vapers India (AVI), an organisation that represents e-cigarette users across the country, has spoken up against these measures.
The organization is now taking legal advice on how to approach the judiciary against the order, and has recently submitted research papers to the State Health Administration, to show that e-cigarettes are up to 95% safer than regular cigarettes.
Why ban e-cigs, when cigarettes remain widely available?
Speaking about the ban in Tamil Nadu, the director of the AVI Samrat Chowdhery, once again stated that it is ironic that while the government picks on the proven safer alternatives, cigarettes remain widely available.
“The Tamil Nadu government has hit a new low in anti-people policy by banning use and possession of e-cigarettes along with their sale. Meanwhile, a far more harmful product, cigarette, continues to be sold freely and according to the national GATS-2 survey, the number of smokers in the state are rising, which the government has failed to curb.”
“The state government has overlooked credible and vast evidence on the harm reduction potential of e-cigarettes to impose a ban that will have a negative impact on public health”, added Chowdhery.
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