HYDERABAD: Marking the anniversary of India’s vape ban as ‘black day’, the Association of Vapers India (AVI), held a protest in Hyderabad recently. Protests were held in Delhi, Bengaluru and Kolkata too.
An online protest rally was also organised where ex-smokers, vapers and their family members, along with global health, legal and advocacy experts expressed anger over the arbitrary ban imposed by the government last September.
The protestors raised placards citing the impact of the ban on their lives and urged the government to hold a discussion with all stakeholders including consumers, and allow research on vaping products to understand their harm reduction potential.
Highlighting 10 key reasons why the vape ban has failed in India, the consumer body wrote letters to Members of Parliament urging their intervention as the policy adversely impacts 11 crore Indians who smoke and have few means to quit or reduce harm.
The detailed letter also highlights that many vapers are being forced to go back to smoking, while a black market mushrooms.
Jagannath Saranagapani, director of AVI in Hyderabad, said, “With the intellectual and scientific bent of mind India possesses, it was disheartening when the ban on e-cigarettes was announced. By removing access to a universally successful tobacco harm reduction alternative, the government has done nothing to develop affordable nicotine gums or patches which could help smokers quit. Even more hypocritical is the ban on e-cigarette research. This shows that the hurried and drastic move was to shield the tobacco industry. The government should remember that in a democracy, the people come first.”
AVI director Samrat Chowdhery said, “The goal of protecting youth is not met as e-cigarettes are still available in the black market, putting them at greater risk. There are no checks and balances to prevent teen access, which sensible regulation could have achieved.”