India’s Union health ministry is planning to issue an advisory note to all states about what it sees as the health risks of vaping, according to a story on indianexpress.com.
The story said the note was likely to say that products such as ‘e-cigarettes, electronic nicotine-delivery systems (ENDS), nicotine and flavoured hookah’ were ‘extremely harmful to health’ and that they had not been approved in any form by the ministry of health and family welfare.
“The public will be advised, in their own interest, not to use any such products, sold or marketed in any form and under any name or brand,” a senior ministry official said.
But, according to a senior health ministry official, the health ministry is in a quandary over whether to ban e-cigarettes under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, or the Poisons Act 1919.
Some states, including Punjab, Chandigarh, Haryana, Kerala, Mizoram, Karnataka, and Jammu and Kashmir have already banned e-cigarettes as an unapproved drug. While some of these states have banned e-cigarettes under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, some have used as well the Poisons Act.
And, just for good measure, the official said that nicotine had been declared a ‘lethal and hazardous’ substance under the Environment (Protection) Act and Insecticide Act.
In 2013, the Ministry of Health formed an expert group to assess and report on various forms of ENDs, which, in its final report in July said that scientific evidence clearly indicated that any form of nicotine use, or the use of ENDS, was hazardous. The group reportedly said, too, that, ‘besides, causing many forms of health disorders, nicotine is also classified as a poison and is fatal for human beings even in small dosage’.
Meanwhile, the Express reported that three sub-committees formed to examine the legal, advocacy and health aspects of e-cigarettes had strongly recommended a ban on them, stating that they had cancer-causing properties.
“Though companies claim that e-cigarettes help [smokers] give up smoking, but in reality they help initiate cigarette smoking as they deliver nicotine in an attractive way and attract youth,” the official said.