Many studies have shown that e-cigarettes can actually reduce and in some cases, help in quitting smoking, some states in India, including Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Punjab, Maharashtra and Kerala, have banned the use of e-cigarettes while continuing with the tobacco version. This move has led experts to sound a warning, saying that prohibiting e-cigarettes may deprive Indian smokers of a substantially less harmful alternative, which can be against public health and can result in adverse consequences. According to media reports, the Union Health Ministry has recently ruled out acceptability of e-cigarettes in the light of research findings by experts who concluded that they have cancer-causing properties, are highly addictive, and do not offer a safer alternative to tobacco-based smoking products. However, health experts argued that such decision creates a paradox. The government is allowing the sales of lethal nicotine-containing products — tobacco cigarettes — while banning a substantially less harmful alternative. “In my opinion, banning e-cigarettes is against public health. I think it’s going to have an impending adverse consequence, because the ban will deprive Indian smokers of a substantially less harmful alternative,” Konstantinos E. Farsalinos a research fellow at the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Centre in Athens, Greece. “Banning is a hasty decision and can be counter-productive, because we are not aware of the extent of e-cigarette use or its harm in India,” added R.N. Sharan, Professor at North-Eastern Hill University in Shillong, Meghalaya. An e-cigarette is a battery-operated device that uses a liquid e-liquid that may contain nicotine, as well as varying compositions of flavourings, propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, and other ingredients. In tobacco cigarette, there is combustion, a burning of an organic material, which generates temperature up to 900 degree Celsius, and thus produces all the harmful material. Whereas, in e-cigarettes there is neither combustion nor tobacco. There is only the burning of the liquid, made up of ingredients approved for food and contains minimal burning, which is 100-1000 times lower compared to tobacco cigarette. A study published in the journal The Lancet showed that India has 11•2 percent of the world’s total smokers. Over 11 percent of 6.4 million deaths worldwide was caused by smoking in 2015 and 52.2 per cent of them took place in China, India, Russia, and the US, the report said.
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