Association of Vapers India Opposes Government Move to Ban E-Cigarettes

Mumbai, May 2018: Association of Vapers India (AVI), an organization representing smokers and vapers in India, has issued a public appeal to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, requesting NOT to go for an outright ban on Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) and Vaping in the country. Instead, AVI has called upon the government to bring a legislation to regulate the domain of alternatives to smoking, including vaping and ENDS or e-cigarettes.

As per the Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2016-17, India is already home to 10 crore smokers.  Association of Vapers India considers this as a developmental issue where on one hand the state and union governments in India are geared towards an outright ban on e-cigarettes, on the other hand, the US, UK and Western Europe have allowed or are actively considering e-cigarettes based on their domestic scientific research to manage incidence of smoking.

According to Mr Samrat Chowdhery, director of Association of Vapers India, “Smokers’ addiction is to nicotine. As tobacco cigarettes have been the traditional way to inhale nicotine, there was no way in the past to avoid the life-threatening quality of smoke, comprising a host of deadly chemicals. Today, the situation has changed for the better with the advent of newer technologies the world over, offering healthier ways to consume nicotine – like vaping or using e-cigarettes. An outright ban on e-cigarettes in the country, therefore, without collecting sufficient peer reviewed indigenous research data will put public health in India at greater risk, as it will wipe out a less harmful alternative for smokers like vaping and e-cigarettes.”

Association of Vapers India, therefore, has called upon the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and state public health officials to adopt an open-minded and evidence-based approach, review the literature on the true aspects of e-cigarette use and their potential to serve as a harm reduction product.

AVI has gone ahead to demand from the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare a legislation to regulate the domain of alternatives to smoking, including vaping and Electronic Nicotine Delivery Devices or e-cigarettes, in the interest of 10 crore Indian citizens who smoke and their families.

Adds AVI director Samrat Chowdhery, “Access to safer nicotine products should be seen as a public health intervention that comes at no extra cost. We firmly believe India should lead the battle against smoking not by banning, but by allowing the latest technologically advanced products to aid the smoker’s fight to quit his habit and be part of a smoke-free society.”

Association of Vapers India represents the nascent community of health conscious vapers and smokers desirous of quitting smoking with aid of e-cigarettes and vapes. All of the smokers onboard AVI are well aware that smoking tobacco is as lethal as it is addictive. They know they stand the risk of dying early, losing an average of three months every year, especially those above age 35. While the best thing would have been to have never started the habit, overcoming the addiction is easier said than done. E-cigarettes and vaping come as the practical solution to wean smokers away from tobacco-cigarettes and help them quit. Existing alternatives like nicotine gums and patches have not found much traction with smokers who seek ways and means to quit.

AVI cites the public policy debate by Science and Technology Committee {1} of British House of Commons in UK Parliament and the conclusions drawn that “E-cigarettes are not a gateway to smoking. The use of e-cigarettes is limited almost entirely to those who are already using, or have used, tobacco” in support of its argument.

AVI also offers reference to the Royal College of Physicians (UK) path-breaking report {2} titled ‘Nicotine Without Smoke: Tobacco Harm Reduction’, published in 2016, which concluded: “Provision of the nicotine that smokers are addicted to – without the harmful components of tobacco smoke – can prevent most of the harm from smoking.”

Association of Vapers India is committed to reducing the burden of death and disease caused by smoking for the community of smokers. The group has no ties to any industry and their focus is mainly public health.