WHO statement on ban of e-cigarettes by Government of India
WHO congratulates the Government of India for banning e-cigarettes – a strong and definitive step to protect its citizens, especially the youth and children, from the increasing risk of nicotine-addiction. The strong leadership demonstrated by the government by banning e-cigarettes will go a long way in protecting public health and wellbeing of future generations. The use of these products has increased exponentially acquiring epidemic proportions in developed countries, especially among the youth and children. On 18 September 2019, India, through an ordinance prohibited production, manufacture, import, export, transport, sale, distribution, storage and advertisement of e-cigarettes. This is in line with recommendations of the White Paper on Electronic Nicotine Delivery System by the Indian Council of Medical Research and complements the ongoing efforts of the government to discourage initiation of tobacco use and strengthen its commitment towards WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. The Government of India’s efforts has led to a steady decline in prevalence of tobacco use among adults between 2010-2017, as per the Global Adult Tobacco Survey–India. During the same period, the prevalence among young population aged 15-24 saw a relative reduction of 33%. There is a need to ensure this progress is not reversed due to introduction of new products and marketing strategies. Among the measures taken by the government includes the firm stand to implement large graphic health warning covering 85% area of tobacco product packs. The use of e-cigarettes could lead to a new generation of nicotine and tobacco users, as seen in some countries, especially given how these products are marketed to young people.