Will the Minister of Health and Family Welfare answer:
(a) whether the government is aware that e-cigarettes are gaining popularity in the country, and if so, the details thereof and the health hazards attached to it;
(b) whether All India Institute of Medical Sciences has issued any warning regarding harmful effects of e-cigarettes;
(c) if so, the details thereof and the preventive steps taken by the Government;
(d) whether a lack of awareness among people about e-cigarettes is the prime reason for its gaining popularity in the country; and
(e) if so, the details thereof and measures taken by the Government to create awareness among people in the country?
These were the questions asked by MPs today to Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of Health and Family welfare. She replied stating that, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences has not issued any formal warning regarding harmful effects of e-cigarettes.
In order to justify the ban on e-cigarettes, she stated in her reply that, “As per a report of WHO, Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) (also known as-cigarettes) heat a solution to create an aerosol which frequently contains flavourants, usually dissolved into Propylene Glycol or/and Glycerin. ENDS aerosol contains nicotine, the addictive component of tobacco products. In addition to dependence, nicotine can have adverse effects on the development of the foetus during pregnancy and may contribute to cardiovascular disease.
The WHO report further says that although nicotine itself is not a carcinogen, it may function as a ‘tumour promoter’ and seems to be involved in the biology of malignant disease, as well as of neurodegeneration. Foetal and adolescent nicotine exposure may have long-term consequences for brain development, potentially leading to learning and anxiety disorders. The evidence is sufficient to warn children and adolescents, pregnant women, and women of reproductive age against ENDS use and nicotine.”
If we as a society and a country care about our people, all types of cigarettes should be banned. From the Minister’s reply, the only reason for banning the product was the harmful effect of nicotine. If that is the case, why are tobacco-based cigarettes not banned? Obviously, e-cigarettes pose a threat to local cigarette manufacturers, some of whom close to the ruling dispensation.