E-Cigarette Ban: Right or Wrong ?

Just the last week Government came forward with an unexpected and surprising decision . E-Cigarettes were banned with immediate effect . The reason for the Ban was termed as it being Harmful for the consumers while the reason for the Finance Minster making the declaration was the Health Minister being out of country .
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 . Nirmala Tai said that this decision is taken after much discussion , “They were promoted to help people get out of Smoking but we have found out that it’s not the case and rather people are getting addicted to it” . Here the fact needs to be taken under account that e-cigarettes which was imported between 2016-19 worth of $191,781 . Also , it is in follow up of the Advisory issued by Central Government in 2018 to all states to consider banning e-cigarettes and it’s already banned in 15 states and 1 union territory (PUDUCHERRY) .

1)Any production, manufacturing, import, export, transport, sale (including online sale), distribution or advertisement (including online advertisement) of e-cigarettes shall become a cognizable offence in India.

2) This will be punishable with an imprisonment of up to one year or fine up to Rs 1 lakh or both for the first offence.

3) In case someone is caught flouting the law again, the punishment would be imprisonment of up to three years and fine up to Rs 5 lakh.

4) Under the new rule, those found storing e-cigarettes will be punished with an imprisonment up to 6 months or fine up to Rs 50,000 or both.

5) Besides this, those who have existing stocks of e-cigarettes will have to declare and deposit them with the nearest police station on their own before the ordinance comes into effect

But what is an e-Cigarette , for all your surprise I didn’t knew that even something like this exists and came to know only when this news broke out . I hope there are people who are as INNOCENT as Me ….. HA HA .

E-Cigarette is basically a electronic version of Cigarette . It is also called Vaping , e-Pipes , e-Hokkas or second hand smoking . It doesn’t burn or use Tobacco leaves but it vaporizes a nicotine infused solution using Battery which is then inhaled by the User , the battery is ofcourse needed to be charged by something like Cellphone adaptor . The produced AEROSOL containing a suspension of fine particles and gases simulates cigarette smoke which is delivered to mouth and lungs after a PUFF ; the rest is exhaled . The main constituents are Nicotine , Propylene Glycol with or without Glycerol and flavouring agents . The effectiveness depends crucially on CIRCUIT STRENGTH and BATTERY VOLTAGE , the stronger these qualities the faster the solution heats up and more effective is the product . Variability in these abilities may affect in delivery of Nicotine and can also lead to formation of Toxicants while Emission .

They are most common form of ELECTRONIC NICOTINE DELIVERY SYSTEMS (ENDS) . Their designs vary from traditional cigarette , cigar , pipes having a disposable catridge to modern whistles , pens etc which are larger , have longer battery life and are reusable . Other than the technical factors it’s effectiveness also depends on it’s Usage ; Length of Puffs , Strength of Solution , Depth of Inhalation and Frequency of Use . The power to deliver Nicotine defines the power of an e-cigarette , if the delivery is too fast then it’s no different from a CONVENTIONAL Cigarette . Also most of them are Flavoured having different attractive flavours which makes people more Addictive towards it .

If we talk about the Addicts NICOTIN can be equally addictive as in a traditional one if not more . During Pregnancy it can have adverse effects and lead to Cardiovascular diseases , malignant and neurodegeneration . Although it’s all adverse affects are not completely known but just as a traditional cigarette it also delivers ultra fine particles at Lungs which is then absorbed by Blood . A study found it’s regular use a cause of increased chances of Heart Attack ; also the toxic chemical and metals (Nickel ,Tin , Lead) cause adverse diseases . A study also reveals that too much consumption of Nicotine at Adolescent age may hamper adolescent growth . The DIACETYL used as flavours is related to serious lung diseases .

Though it came for distracting Smokers from traditional cigarettes to these and then make them quit smoking . But the result hasn’t been in place and there is little evidence of supporting any such claim . If we look in the perspective and situation in US ; US FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION (FDA) has NOT approved e-cigarettes as an alternative for cigarettes . Reason being that although it has led many to quit smoking but80% are still vaping so the answer is not clear . Those who start with e-cigarettes are less likely to quit smoking . Also those starting with e-Cigarettes are more likely to become traditional smokers . Between 2017-18 e-Cigarettes consumption increased 78% among high school while 48% among middle school in US . Vaping related Diseases has led to a Public Health Crisis in US and President DONALD TRUMP has urged the move to ban all kinds of e-Cigarettes including the flavoured ones . He found it much easier to ban e- cigarettes than the Guns .

Despite of all this , this ban is being held Controversial , reason those not so electronic … Cigarettes and Chewable Tobacco are still out of any Ban and are running freely ….. Well are they nutritious for health or are less harmful . It’s being said that Government is trying to promote cigarettes because a Ban on e-Cigarettes will automatically raise the demand for traditional ones . Also , as soon as the declaration came by the shares of three main companies INDIAN TOBACCO COMPANY (ITC) , Godfrey Phillips India Ltd. and Golden Tobacco Ltd. surged sharply . In India there are 267 milion tobacco users of which 38% use e-Cigarettes (28% are above 15 and 14% are under 15)

The real controversy arises when we come to know that millions die every year from Tobacco use and people dying of e-cigarettes are significantly less as compared to it . On the other hand some studies also claim that e-cigarettes are 95% less harmful than traditional ones ; reason being it produces no smoke with associated carcinogens like TAR . As I said the tobacco lobby is delighted as the sales of Bidi and Cigarette will rise and instead of Vaping the deprived lads will go on for ….. Smoking which is of course more harmful .One more surprising fact is that e-cigarettes that lead to death are motly the ILLEGALLY produced ones and not the legal ones . In US , though vaping increased but smoking decreased as well .

Many evidences were seen smokers shifted to vaping and then quit it altogether . Though taxes on cigarettes are increased continuously in every Budgets claiming that it will curb the deadly habit . But instead each time the no. has increased only . On the other hand taxes ahd been kept very light on Bidis ; reason they are handmade and provides high employment . But it doesn’t me sense encouraging a million people killing another million slowly and agonisingly . For fact , Bidis produce more nicotine and tar than cigarettes . In 2009 a study revealed that if bidis taxed as much as cigarettes it would yield 80000 crore (much higher now) means can fund th whole MODICARE (AYUSHMAN BHARAT) . For more bad news , tobacco farmers get the same benefits , subsidies and grants from PM as any other farmer , Tobacco farming is even encouraged and subsidised .

Isn’t it extremely Hypocritical that on one hand Government is claiming to save lives and on other hand it’s promoting the products which takes lives of millions . Another argument by Nirmala Sitharaman was that e-Cigarettes are imported items so they don’t help in economic development . But there are many goods that are imported . Instead if taxes had been equalized on bidis and cigarettes not only it would have yielded far higher benefits but also had helped in curbing lives .

In my opinion ….. actually I am not able to form a complete opinion . Some aspectwise the decision seems a good one but when we see the whole story it turns out to be something else . Surely the government wanted to benefit cigarette and tobacco products . Vaping is not a good thing so it can’t be defended but there are many more bad and harmful products as well on which control should be exerted .



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