Quick Take

E-cigarettes ban: Bolting the stable when the horses are still in

| Updated on September 19, 2019

E-cigarettes. File photo

The Centre’s crackdown on e-cigarettes has come not a moment too soon

Presently, the United States grapples with a situation where young people have been hospitalised after using e-cigarettes, some even reporting an unknown lung disease and six have died. In fact, US health authorities are investigating these e-cigarette related incidents of disease and death.

It may seem innocuous at one level to ban e-cigarettes, when tobacco and its products continue to thrive in India. Not quite so, because the Centre’s hatchet on this more trendy form of smoking is to prevent this industry from catching them young.

Under the garb of being mild and less harmful than tobacco, e-cigarettes are marketed as trendy products with more attractive flavours and as so on. And we’ve seen this pattern with tobacco. When tobacco lost its masculine appeal, the industry pushed it to women with mild flavours. And with tobacco itself being snuffed out of the public arena, e-cigarettes become the vehicle to catch young consumers.

Doctors have been calling to nip the growing e-cigarette habit in the bud for the precise reason that it has been difficult to ban tobacco now. A ban on tobacco brings with it concerns of farmer livelihood, something that doctors say, is no more than a smokescreen of sorts, since those working with tobacco are also exposed to health issues.

But there are a section of doctors in India who have batted for e-cigarettes as a cessation product, to help smokers give it up, gradually.

Since the air is still not quite clear on the product and it’s health ramifications, the Centre’s move is welcome. It’s better to bolt the stable, when the horses are still in.

Published on September 19, 2019

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