E-Cigarettes Pose Public Health Risk, Says ICMR
01, Jun 2019
Prelims level : Science & Technology Mains level : Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management
Why in News:
- The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has warned of a potential public health disaster if action was not taken to completely prohibit and dissuade the use of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) or e-cigarettes.
- The nicotine delivered by these devices adversely affect almost all systems in a human body.
- E-cigarette use adversely affects the cardiovascular system, impairs respiratory immune cell function and airways in a way similar to cigarette smoking and is responsible for severe respiratory disease.
- It also poses risk to foetus, infant, and child brain development
- “Use of e-cigarettes has documented adverse effects on humans which include DNA damage; carcinogenesis; cellular, molecular and immunological toxicity; respiratory, cardiovascular and neurological disorders and adverse impact on foetal development and pregnancy,’’ Given the harmful health effects e-cigarettes pose to users, as well as passive exposure, failure to make appropriate interventions at the right time could lead to a public health disaster in India.
Urges complete ban
- There are more than 460 different e-cigarette brands with varying configurations of nicotine delivery available in the market, according to the ICMR.
- The ICMR has recommended complete prohibition on ENDS or e-cigarettes in India in the greater interest of protecting public health.
- E-cigarettes also open a gateway for new tobacco addiction, which is a potential threat to the country’s tobacco control laws and ongoing tobacco control programmes and efforts
- ICMR is India’s apex scientific body for the formulation, coordination and promotion of biomedical research. It was established in 1911 as Indian Research Fund Association (IRFA) making it one of oldest and largest medical research bodies in the world.
- The ICMR functions under Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. It is headquartered in New Delhi.