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Doctors from 24 States, UTs for ban on �ENDS�

By Staff Reporter
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GUWAHATI, March 27 - Over a thousand doctors from 24 States and three Union Territories have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to enforce a ban on Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) which includes e-cigarettes, e-hookah, etc., before it becomes an epidemic in India, especially among the youths.

E-cigarettes, also called �e-cigs,� �vapes,� �e-hookahs,� �vape pens�, etc., are �electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS)�. Some e-cigarettes look like regular cigarettes, cigars or pipes. Some look like USB flash drives, pens and other everyday items.

The doctors have urged the Prime Minister to put a ban on such products� promotion on the Internet. They wrote that this is a public health matter and commercial interests should not be entertained.

On August 28, 2018, the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) had issued an advisory to all States/UTs to ban ENDS. In March 2019, a panel of health experts appointed by MoHFW submitted a report in which 251 research studies on ENDS were analysed. The panel concluded that ENDS is as bad as any other tobacco product and definitely not safe.

Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute & Voice of Tobacco Victims (VoTV) patron Dr Ashok Das said research had proven that ENDS are not safe or alternatives to cessation.

�Nicotine dependence is a major health threat. As a doctor, I will never recommend any nicotine product usage without medical supervision. These products should be banned in India,� he said.

Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, Deputy Director, Head & Neck Surgical Oncology, Tata Memorial Hospital, said it would not be an exaggeration if nicotine is considered as poison.

�It is sad that the ENDS lobby has assembled a group of physicians who are sharing misleading and distorted information to suit the ENDS industry. I applaud the Government of India that in line with their goal of universal healthcare, it took a tough stand against nicotine delivery devices. They must now ensure that this does not get diluted,� he added.

He said E-cigarettes should not be promoted as a safe alternative. �The only way is to completely quit smoking and not initiate the use of any tobacco product. Tobacco companies want to hook a new generation on nicotine under the allure of safe smoking,� he said.

The doctors' network writing to the Prime Minister is associated with the Voice of Tobacco Victims (VoTV) campaign and they are distressed that some of their own fraternity are falling prey to the ENDS lobby.

One group of such physicians with vested interests is taking words from reports of highly respected international health associations out of context. For instance, they say that that the American Heart Association (AHA) has said e-cigarettes are �an opportunity for harm reduction� whereas AHA on its website clearly states that �E-cigarettes have dangerous highly addictive chemical, as well as toxins, metals and contaminants. Not only users but also non-users around the ones vaping may be exposed to these harmful chemicals through the exhaled vapour�.

The association further warns everyone not to be fooled when these newer nicotine products are marketed as being safer than smoking. It adds that these products should not be promoted as a safe alternative to smoking.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) and The National Academies of Sciences Engineering Medicine (NASEM) are both of the view that young people who begin with e-cigarettes are more likely to transit to regular cigarette use and become smokers.

Ashima Sarin, director, Voice of Tobacco Victims (VoTV), said as per Global Adult Tobacco Survey (2017), there are 100 million smokers in India, which is a potentially a large market for makers of ENDS.

�The ENDS lobby is spending a lot of money on trying to get an entry into India. Youth who have not tried regular cigarettes are initiating with vaping and end up smoking regular cigarettes or both. Prestigious associations such as The American Cancer Society and The American Heart Association have said it all,� he added.

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Doctors from 24 States, UTs for ban on �ENDS�

GUWAHATI, March 27 - Over a thousand doctors from 24 States and three Union Territories have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to enforce a ban on Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) which includes e-cigarettes, e-hookah, etc., before it becomes an epidemic in India, especially among the youths.

E-cigarettes, also called �e-cigs,� �vapes,� �e-hookahs,� �vape pens�, etc., are �electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS)�. Some e-cigarettes look like regular cigarettes, cigars or pipes. Some look like USB flash drives, pens and other everyday items.

The doctors have urged the Prime Minister to put a ban on such products� promotion on the Internet. They wrote that this is a public health matter and commercial interests should not be entertained.

On August 28, 2018, the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) had issued an advisory to all States/UTs to ban ENDS. In March 2019, a panel of health experts appointed by MoHFW submitted a report in which 251 research studies on ENDS were analysed. The panel concluded that ENDS is as bad as any other tobacco product and definitely not safe.

Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute & Voice of Tobacco Victims (VoTV) patron Dr Ashok Das said research had proven that ENDS are not safe or alternatives to cessation.

�Nicotine dependence is a major health threat. As a doctor, I will never recommend any nicotine product usage without medical supervision. These products should be banned in India,� he said.

Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, Deputy Director, Head & Neck Surgical Oncology, Tata Memorial Hospital, said it would not be an exaggeration if nicotine is considered as poison.

�It is sad that the ENDS lobby has assembled a group of physicians who are sharing misleading and distorted information to suit the ENDS industry. I applaud the Government of India that in line with their goal of universal healthcare, it took a tough stand against nicotine delivery devices. They must now ensure that this does not get diluted,� he added.

He said E-cigarettes should not be promoted as a safe alternative. �The only way is to completely quit smoking and not initiate the use of any tobacco product. Tobacco companies want to hook a new generation on nicotine under the allure of safe smoking,� he said.

The doctors' network writing to the Prime Minister is associated with the Voice of Tobacco Victims (VoTV) campaign and they are distressed that some of their own fraternity are falling prey to the ENDS lobby.

One group of such physicians with vested interests is taking words from reports of highly respected international health associations out of context. For instance, they say that that the American Heart Association (AHA) has said e-cigarettes are �an opportunity for harm reduction� whereas AHA on its website clearly states that �E-cigarettes have dangerous highly addictive chemical, as well as toxins, metals and contaminants. Not only users but also non-users around the ones vaping may be exposed to these harmful chemicals through the exhaled vapour�.

The association further warns everyone not to be fooled when these newer nicotine products are marketed as being safer than smoking. It adds that these products should not be promoted as a safe alternative to smoking.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) and The National Academies of Sciences Engineering Medicine (NASEM) are both of the view that young people who begin with e-cigarettes are more likely to transit to regular cigarette use and become smokers.

Ashima Sarin, director, Voice of Tobacco Victims (VoTV), said as per Global Adult Tobacco Survey (2017), there are 100 million smokers in India, which is a potentially a large market for makers of ENDS.

�The ENDS lobby is spending a lot of money on trying to get an entry into India. Youth who have not tried regular cigarettes are initiating with vaping and end up smoking regular cigarettes or both. Prestigious associations such as The American Cancer Society and The American Heart Association have said it all,� he added.