Experts lift smokescreen from e-cigarettes

Centre set to issue advisory to all states on health risks of e-cigarettes after recommendations of an expert committee that said they contain carcinogens and do not offer a safe alternative to tobaco

Published: 21st November 2017 08:46 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st November 2017 08:46 AM   |  A+A-

E-Cigarettes.(File |Reuters)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The Centre is set to issue an advisory to all states on the health risks of e-cigarettes after recommendations of an expert committee that said they contain carcinogens and do not offer a safe alternative to tobacco smoking.

Sources in the Union Ministry for Health and Family Welfare said the advisory says that products such as e-cigarettes and flavoured hookah contain hazardous substances and have not been approved by the government.

“A technical committee of the ministry evaluated findings of a World Health Organisation 2016 report, which had shown some surprising findings saying that e-cigarette is lethal and can lead to many serious health conditions,” a ministry official said.

In its report, the committee had pointed out, “Though companies claim that e-cigarettes help give up smoking, in reality they help initiate cigarette smoking as they deliver nicotine in an attractive way and attract youth.”

The Centre is asking states to run awareness campaigns advising public not to use any such products, sold or marketed in any form and under any name or brand.  The government is mulling 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. Punjab, Haryana, Kerala, Mizoram, Karnataka, and Jammu and Kashmir have banned e-cigarettes.

Monika Arora, Director of Health promotion division with the Public Health Foundation of India said, “E-cigarettes are mostly unregulated (significant variability in constituents and nicotine delivery) and their health effects are not fully known, especially those associated with long-term use of e-cigarettes on lungs and cardiovascular system.”

Huff and Puff

What are e-cigarettes?

Electronic nicotine delivery systems, also called e-cigarettes, vapourise liquid, typically comprising nicotine, propylene glycol, glycerine and flavourings government’s plans

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare plans to ban e-cigarettes under either the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, or the Poisons Act 1919

Not risk-free

E-cigarettes contain nicotine and have been associated with stiffening of arteries, rise in BP and increased chances of heart attack and stroke

Some e-cigarettes contain formaldehyde and other substances used in antifreeze that are proven carcinogens

Certain e-cigarettes lead to the serious lung condition

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