Mumbai: FDA to propose ban on e-cigarettes across state

Mumbai: The Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has decided to ban the sale of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS). The FDA commissioner will be sending a proposal to the state and central governments, recommending a complete ban on e-cigarettes, e-sheeshas and other similar devices.

“The ban on e-cigarettes will be imposed as soon as we receive a green signal from the state government, a proposal to this effect will be sent within a week,” said Pallavi Darade, FDA commissioner.

The move comes after the union ministry of health and family welfare issued an advisory to all states and Union Territories in August last year, asking them to ensure that ENDS are not sold, manufactured, distributed, traded, imported or advertised across the country.

E-cigarettes have become increasingly popular over the last few years as a smoke-free alternative to conventional tobacco cigarettes. However, the health effects of ‘vaping’ on humans have been debated in the scientific and tobacco manufacturing community.

The advisory issued on August 28, 2018, stated, “States/Union Territories are advised — in larger public health interest and in order to prevent the initiation of ENDS by non-smokers and youth with special attention to vulnerable groups — to ensure that any e-cigarette — heat-not-burn devices, vapes, e-sheeshas, e-nicotine flavoured hookahs and the like that enable nicotine delivery are not sold (including online), manufactured, distributed, traded, imported and advertised in their jurisdiction.”

Health experts have welcomed the FDA’s proposed move to ban e-cigarettes as these contain chemicals such as lead, chromium, nickel which adversely affect human health. “There is low awareness about the side effects of e-cigarette among the citizens. Most of them think e-cigarettes are less harmful than cigarettes and do not have adverse effects on health,” said Dr Sandeep Salvi, president of the Chest Research Foundation.

E-cigarettes: No tobacco, yet toxic

India has one of the highest populations of smokers in the world. According to the World Health Organisation, there are nearly 106 million adult smokers in the country, which makes India second only to China in this category. ,With e-cigarettes, the cancer-causing tobacco smoke is cut out of the equation, claims the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

The incidence of smoking may have dropped but vaping has increased. When e-cigarettes first made an appearance, their adverse effects, which are rather obvious now, took a few years to come to light. Even though e-cigarettes do not burn tobacco, they still contain and emit potentially toxic substances.

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