Published On: Sat, Aug 24th, 2019

Vape ban: India could lead nationwide vaping ban days after first e-cigarette US death | World | News

The nation’s health ministry has suggested the government sent an executive order to ban the devices as a matter of public interest. Chiefs have also proposed jail sentences which could see repeat offenders behind bars for up to three years and a £5,700 fine. The ban will be a huge setback for vaping companies looking to cash in on a  country with over 100 million adult smokers.

The health ministry document said: “There is evidence that these products are a gateway to tobacco products and induce adolescents and young adults to nicotine use, leading to addiction.” 

In an internal note seen by Reuters the health ministry also claims the electronic devices could be hazardous. 

They said: “E-cigarettes and similar technology that encourage tobacco use or adversely impact public health are hazardous for an active as well as passive user.”

Just a couple of months ago Indian officials announced the devices would be classified as a drug. 

A national ban has been proposed, while some states have already axed the devices. 

Punjab, Haryana, Kerala, Mizoram, Karnataka and Jammu and Kashmir have all branded the devices as unapproved drugs. 

In Thailand all vape devices are illegal, while even Australia and parts of Argentina and Brazil have restrictions. 

India is the second most popular smoking country in the world, behind China, as more than 900,000 people die each year from tobacco related illnesses. 

The proposed ban comes after US health officials claimed a patient’s death was linked to vaping, the first death connected to the practice in the country. 

READ MORE: Stop smoking – four ways to quit cigarettes once and for all

“This tragic death in Illinois reinforces the serious risks associated with e-cigarette products.”

Vaping is supposed to be a healthier alternative to smoking tobacco cigarettes as users inhale vapour sprinkled with nicotine rather than harmful chemicals. 

But, the low risk nature of the products has encouraged young people to try the devices. 

According to statistics from YouGov for the Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), 15.4 percent of young people aged between 11 and 18 in the UK had tried vaping in 2019, up from 12.7 percent in 2015. 

Data from Public Health England shows around 3 million adults currently vape in the UK.

But the practice was endorsed by health experts in 2017 after a joint study from University College London, the Roswell Park Cancer Institute and the CDC showed significantly lower levels of cancer causing chemicals were found in users of e-cigarettes compared to traditional smokers.

Another independent review backed up the claims after Public Health England found e-cigarettes were less harmful than tobacco. 

Best estimates showed the devices were around 95 percent less harmful than traditional smoking. 

Kevin Fenton, Director of Health and Wellbeing at Public Health England said: “E-cigarettes are not completely risk free but when compared to smoking, evidence shows they carry just a fraction of the harm.”

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