Bhopal: Regulate e-cigarettes instead of blanket ban

Bhopal: Doctors in the city are of view that a complete ban on e-cigarettes is not advisable. They said that as the electronic devices used for inhaling nicotine through vapours are also used for reducing or quitting smoking, hence instead of a blanket ban, restrictions on their use would be more advisable

The Jharkhand Government has, recently, banned the sale and use of e-cigarettes in the state on the basis of an advisory issued by the Union Health ministry in August last year. AIIMS Bhopal assistant professor Dr Mahesh Maheshwari told Free Press, “A complete ban is not advocated as e-cigarettes are also used in reducing the habit of smoking normal tobacco cigarettes.

But we do need licensing and restrictions on easy availability.” He said that the use of ecigarettes is growing, especially among women and children because “They get addicted to nicotine or other chemicals easily and also due to social pressure and modern lifestyle.”

“Normal cigarette is harder to quit as it has high nicotine content,” Dr Maheshwari added. Pulmonologist Dr. Ashwini Malhotra said, “E-cigarettes are not safe but they are definitely less harmful than normal cigarettes. They are considered a better option for smokers, especially chain-smokers.” As for a ban on the device he said, “It is for the government to decide.”

The users of e-cigarettes, on the other hand, insist that the devices have not only helped them kick the habit of smoking but have other advantages, too. Vishal Gupta, a businessman, who started using ecigarettes about two years back, said that earlier he used to smoke around 40-45 cigarettes every day. “Now, I do not smoke even one,” he said.

Gupta said that e-cigarettes are not only lighter on the pocket but also help control passive smoking. “I used to spend around Rs 600 per day on buying two packets of Classic Regular cigarette, which I used to smoke. Now, I hardly spend Rs 40 a day,” he said. He said that to his knowledge, there are no studies to indicate that e-cigarettes are safe but, “I am feeling much better than earlier.

I don’t have craving for cigarettes and my stamina has increased”. Enumerating other benefits of using e-cigarettes, he said that “no one around you is harmed by your smoking and there is no smell.” He said that he buys e-cigarettes and the refill for use with them from websites. “It is not available in the local market,” he said.

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