ICMR CALLS FOR COMPLETE BAN ON E-CIGARETTES
GS 2 : Governance – Health & Education
Why in News?
- The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has recommended a complete ban on e-cigarettes and other electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), based on currently available scientific evidence.
- Last year, the Centre had issued an advisory recommending a ban on the sale of e-cigarettes in India.
Electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS):
- ENDS of which electronic cigarettes are the most common prototype, are devices that do not burn or use tobacco leaves but instead vaporize a solution the user then inhales.
- The main constituents of the solution, in addition to nicotine when nicotine is present, are propylene glycol, with or without glycerol and flavoring agents.
- ENDS solutions and emissions contain other chemicals, some of them considered to be toxicants.
Why such ban?
- Use of ENDS or e-cigarettes has documented adverse effects on humans, which include DNA damage; carcinogenic, cellular, molecular and immunological toxicity; respiratory, cardiovascular and neurological disorders; and adverse impact on fetal development and pregnancy.
- ICMR noted that e-cigarettes and other such devices contained not only nicotine solution, which was highly addictive, but also harmful ingredients such as flavoring agents and vaporizers.
ENDS cannot help quit smoking:
- The ICMR paper has rejected the argument that e-cigarettes could help smokers quit tobacco consumption.
- While such benefits have not been firmly established, there is also evidence that there is risk of people continuing to use both them as well as tobacco products.
- In addition, these devices could encourage non-smokers to get addicted to tobacco.
- Various flavors and attractive designs are adding to the allure of the devices, and there was an increasing trend of using e-cigarettes among youth and adolescents in many countries.
- They increase the likelihood to experiment with regular products and increase the intention to indulge in cigarette smoking.
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