GUWAHATI: More than 1,000 doctors from 24 States and three Union Territories of India have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to enforce a ban on Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) which includes e-cigarettes, e-hookah, etc. before it becomes an epidemic in India, especially among the youth. These 1061 doctors worry that on a public health matter, trade and industry organizations are pitching for the promotion of e-cigarettes.
E-cigarettes, also called “e-cigs,” “vapes,” “e-hookahs,” “vape pens,” are electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS). Some e-cigarettes look like regular cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. Some look like USB flash drives, pens and other everyday items.
According to release issued by Sambanh Foundation, the doctors are concerned over a media report that 30 organizations wrote to the Ministry of IT to prevent the ban on promotion of ENDS on the internet. They wrote that this is a public health matter and commercial interests should not be entertained.
On 28th August 2018, the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) had issued an advisory to all states/UTs to ban ENDS. This March 2019, a panel of health experts appointed by MoHFW submitted a report in which 251 research studies on ENDS were analysed. The panel concluded that ENDS is as bad as any other tobacco product and is definitely not safe.
Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, Deputy Director, Prof Head & Neck Surgical Oncology Tata Memorial Hospital said that it will not be an exaggeration if nicotine is considered as poison. It is sad that the ENDS lobby has assembled a group of physicians who are sharing misleading, distorted information to suit the ENDS industry, they said.
The letter to the Prime Minister quotes a report by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) which stated that e-cigarette use in one year from 2017 to 2018 has increased to 78% among high school students and 48% among middle school students. The FDA reported that In the US, traditional smoking has been falling for years among teens. That trend continues as, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), high school smoking fell from 15.8% to 7.6% between 2011 and 2017. However, ENDS popularity among teens has outstripped the reductions in traditional cigarettes as e-cigarette usage has risen from 1.5% to 11.7% over the same period.
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