“Healthcare cost of beedi smoking to nation is Rs 80,550 crore as per the Centre for Public Policy Research (Kerala) whereas e-cigarette impact is unknown since it is a new category,” study done by CPPR quoted in a news article published in The Hilltop Monitor.

Image source: The Hilltop Monitor

Sitharaman, who had headed a Group of Ministers (GoM) on the issue, said the Cabinet chose to ban e-cigarettes and similar products as they pose a health risk to people, especially the youth.

Speaking to the media, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the Union cabinet approved the ban on production, manufacture, import/export, transport, sale, distribution, storage and advertisement related to e-cigarettes.

“If e-cigarettes are allowed in India, it will have a devastating effect on the tobacco farmers in India”.

The vapour is missing the estimated 7,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke but does contain a number of substances that could potentially be harmful.

Public Health England and most, but not all, of the public health community in the United Kingdom say it is not unsafe.

In the U.S., where the potential health risks of e-cigarettes are in the spotlight, there have been 450 reported cases of lung illness exhausted to vaping this year.

The Association of Vapers India, an organization that represents e-cigarette users across the country, attacked the government’s decision, saying it would deprive millions of smokers of a safer solution to cut back on smoking.

The TRENDS data also showed that e-cigarettes, which are priced anywhere between Rs 2,500 and Rs 4,000, is restricted to the affluent class. “Healthcare cost of beedi smoking to nation is Rs 80,550 crore as per the Centre for Public Policy Research (Kerala) whereas e-cigarette impact is unknown since it is a new category”, the study noted.

-Cabinet also banned e-cigarettes, e-hookas.

The government said it would advance tobacco control efforts and contribute to a reduction in tobacco usage. If it is a repeat offence, the punishment is higher with three years imprisonment and a fine of Rs 5 lakh.

More than 900,000 people die each year due to tobacco-related illnesses in India, home to about 1.3 billion people.

The move came as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that it was investigating five deaths in California, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota and OR, all associated with use of vaping products, BBC reported.

Tobacco is also a major Indian export, and the government holds substantial stakes, directly or indirectly, in tobacco firms including in ITC, one of India’s biggest companies.

“I feel it’s absolutely absurd”, Aronjoy, 22, a student and occasional vaper, told AFP in a shop selling e-cigarettes.

This news article was published in The Hilltop Monitor on 18 September 2019, click here to read

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