The tragic part of this action is that it was enacted to target solely the proven safer alternatives, making it counterproductive to public health. Although the Karnataka government had banned the sale and production of e-cigarettes in June 2016, obtaining the devices illegally remains common across the state.
“ENDS are innovative clean nicotine delivery systems that involve no combustion and therefore produce reduced emissions and toxic byproducts by at least an order of magnitude.”
“Despite this, we find that illegal sale of e-cigarettes is rampant in the State. The Cybercrime police recently issued notices to e-commerce platforms cautioning them that they cannot sell e-cigarettes online. Also customs officials have been seizing nicotine cartridges and e-cigarettes from people flying into Karnataka from outside,” said U.S. Vishal Rao, member of the State government’s High-Powered Committee on Tobacco Control.
“Nicotine is used as a direct substance in e-cigarettes and the content ranges up to 36 mg/mL. Although regular cigarettes too have nicotine, it is in the range of 1.2 to 1.4 mg/mL,” added Rao.
In line with these arguments, according to a June report by the Press Trust of India, a proposal by the Drugs Technical Advisory Board of India, plans to prohibit the sale, manufacture, import and distribution of all ENDS, under Sections 26A and 10A of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940. The proposal states that, “After revisiting its earlier deliberations, the Drugs Consultative Committee has concluded that these devices fall under the definition of ‘drug’.”
A Counterproductive move to public health
Meanwhile, public health experts amongst whom renowned anti-smoking researcher Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos, agree that such a stance will prove counterproductive to the local smoking epidemic. In an article on ET by the cardiologist disseminated the situation and explained it in detail.
“While India continues its fight against rampant tobacco use, especially cigarette smoking, policymakers are still grappling to understand the concept of e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes or Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) are innovative clean nicotine delivery systems that involve no combustion and therefore produce reduced emissions and toxic byproducts by at least an order of magnitude,” explained Farsalinos.
Read Further: The Hindu