Concerned that apart from the long-term health effects, e-cigarettes may encourage more tobacco smoking among youth, India's health ministry is reportedly urging the government to ban the production and imports of vaporizers.
"E-cigarettes and similar technologies that encourage tobacco use or adversely affect public health are dangerous for an active as well as passive user," the health ministry said in an internal note seen by Reuters.
To prevent the potential outbreak of an "Epidemic" among the youth – in a country of some 106 million adult tobacco consumers – the watchdog is asking the government to issue an executive order that would effectively ban battery-powered vaporizers from the Indian market.
These devices are ignorant to the health and proliferation of these products has a negative impact on public health.
Those caught importing, manufacturing or selling the devices in violation of the proposed ban could face a fine of $ 1,400 and a prison term of up to one year, while repeat offenders could be locked up for up to three years with a fine of up to $ 7,000. .
It remains unclear whether the government will support the plea by the health ministry, which is desperately trying to reduce statistics reporting 900,000 tobacco-related deaths a year.
The ministry insists that even nicotine-free electronic cigarettes may serve as a gateway to tobacco products and nicotine addiction – while opponents and supporters of the devices continue to disperse over the long-term health effects, since studies have yet to address the issue.
Supporters say these devices can help traditional smokers cut back or eventually quit smoking altogether. Opponents, on the other hand, insist that vaping boom has resulted in the emergency of hundreds of brands – many of which intentionally target minors while using potentially hazardous ingredients in their products due to lack of clear regulation.
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