Related Topics: Government Policies & Interventions, Public Health
Union Cabinet has approved a ban on e-cigarettes, citing the need to take early action to protect public health.
Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes Ordinance, 2019
- Any production, manufacturing, import, export, transport, sale (including online sale), distribution or advertisement (including online advertisement) of e-cigarettes shall be a cognisable offence punishable with imprisonment of up to one year, or fine up to ₹1 lakh, or both for the first offence; and imprisonment of up to three years and fine up to ₹5 lakh for a subsequent
- Storage of electronic-cigarettes shall also be punishable with imprisonment of up to 6 months or a fine of up to ₹50,000 or both.
- As per a release issued by the Centre, owners of existing stocks of e-cigarettes on the date of commencement of the ordinance will have to suo motu declare and deposit these with the nearest police station.
- The sub-inspector has been designated as the authorised officer to take action under the ordinance.
- The Central or State governments may also designate any other equivalent officer(s) as authorised officer for enforcement of the provisions of the ordinance.
- The ordinance will need to be approved by Parliament when it meets in November, 2019.
What are e-cigarettes?
- E-cigarettes are battery-operated devices that produce aerosol by heating a solution containing nicotine, which is the addictive substance in combustible cigarettes.
- E-cigarettes may be manufactured to look like traditional cigarettes and are marketed as tobacco-free nicotine delivery devices.
- Like traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes also deliver ultrafine particles and nicotine deep into the lungs, which is then absorbed by the blood.
- A 2018 study found the use of e-cigarette daily was associated with a 79% increase in heart attack risk after other variables were taken into account.
- According to a white paper on e-cigarettes by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), depending on the battery output voltage used, nicotine solvents can release in varying amounts potential carcinogens such as acetaldehyde, formaldehyde and acetone.
- Flavours such as diacetyl used in e-cigarettes are linked to serious lung disease.
- E-cigarettes also contain volatile organic compounds, heavy metals, such as nickel, tin and lead.
Public Health Concern
- In 2016, the U.S. Surgeon General had concluded that “e-cigarette use among youths and young adults is a public health concern; exposure to nicotine during adolescence can cause addiction and can harm the developing adolescent brain.”
- Nicotine harms parts of the brain that control attention, learning, mood, and impulse control.”
- Nicotine also changes the way synapses — connections between brain cells — are formed.
- This is a serious concern as more synapses are formed in younger brains.
Can e-cigarette help people to quit smoking?
- Manufacturers have promoted e-cigarettes as a harm-reducing product.
- At present, compared with nicotine patches and nicotine gum, there is limited evidence to support the claim that e-cigarettes help people to stop smoking.
- The delivery of nicotine is variable and difficult to assess as they come in different sizes.
- The S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved e- cigarettes as an alternative to reduce smoking.
- A 2015 survey cited by The Truth Initiative (an anti-tobacco organisation) found that almost 60% of those who used e-cigarettes also smoked cigarettes, called as dual users.
Are e-cigarettes addictive?
- According to a National Youth Tobacco Survey, 2018 carried out by Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 3.6 million kids in the U.S. are using e-cigarettes.
- High school students in the U.S. who used e-cigarettes at least once in 30 days increased from 11.7% in 2017 to 20.8% in 2018; the increase was 48% for middle school children.
- Flavours in e-cigarettes have been cited as one of the top three reasons for children to use them.
- The misconception that “e-cigarettes are less harmful than other forms of tobacco such as cigarettes” is another main reason.
- Youth who use e-cigarettes may be more likely to go on to smoke conventional cigarettes.
[Source: The Hindu]