NEW DELHI: The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has discouraged the use of electronic cigarettes to cut down on smoking as these disguised forms of tobacco can have "serious" long-term effects on health.
"In comparison to available US FDA approved pharmaceutical therapeutics, the safety and efficacy of e-cigarettes as tools to quit smoking are unknown. The Indian Medical Association does not support the use of e-cigarettes and believes that there are many other ways through which individuals can be encouraged to quit smoking," said KK Aggarwal, Secretary General of IMA.
"IMA believes that e-cigarettes, though not as harmful as normal cigarettes, are not healthy and their use should not be encouraged. Like hookahs, they are disguised forms of tobacco addiction and can have serious long-term effects on one's health," said SS Agarwal National President, IMA.
E-cigarette, invented in China in 2003, has seen a marked increase in global usage since 2010, typically targeting younger, high income and more educated brackets of society. E-cigarettes mimic the size and shape of cigarettes and contain a cartridge containing liquid, which includes nicotine (up to 36 mg/ML) among other chemicals (usually propylene glycol or glycerol). Metals such as chromium, nickel, tin and lead have been found in e-cigarette liquids/vapors among other compounds such as phenolic compounds, along with volatile organic compounds.
The constituents of cigarette smoke (carbon monoxide, oxidant gases and tar) are, however, absent in e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes are banned in Uruguay, Brazil, Singapore, and Canada.