Indian govt in favour of complete ban on e-cigarettes: Harsh Vardhan

New Delhi/October 29 (NG News)
Citing research findings of experts, Union Health minister Harsh Vardhan on Wednesday said that India is in favour of a complete ban on e-cigarettes and all products described as ‘Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS)’.

Ruling out the acceptability of such products in the country, Harsh Vardhan said that research findings by experts have concluded that these products (ENDS) are no less unsafe than the ‘real thing’.

While addressing global tobacco control experts at the 45th Union World Conference on Lung Health in Barcelona, Spain, Indian Health minister said that e-cigarettes and similar products push children towards the tobacco habit eventually via nicotine dependence.

“In our national consultation it has been shown that children and other non-smokers tend to develop nicotine addiction at a rate greater than situations where ENDS did not exist. And after that the slide to tobacco is practically inevitable,” he said.

Vardhan, however, pointed out that banning ENDS should not be an end in itself. “The success of a ban strategy will depend on how we agree to control illicit trade and cross border sales of such products. The use of the Internet for this trade should also be curbed.”

India is home to 275 million tobacco users. The use of smokeless tobacco has become a major public health menace, which, if not checked in time with strong measures, could become a national threat. The aggressive marketing strategies marked by attractive packaging, flavouring and price-cuts represent a major challenge for the government.