Electronic cigarettes are a popular way of reducing the risk of cancer, and there is increasing demand for them in India, where they have also been given a green light to grow.
But according to some experts, these devices should be regulated as a tobacco product.
According to a recent survey conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO), a quarter of Indian adults use electronic cigarettes.
The number of adults using electronic cigarettes rose by a whopping 23% in 2017 to 7.2 million, the highest in the world.
The survey also found that more than two-thirds of Indians have used an e-cigarette in the last six months.
“There is a need to regulate them as tobacco products and to ban them in a way that is consistent with international norms,” Dr. Prakash K. Dutta, WHO director general, told The Hindu newspaper.
“The current system is based on marketing and advertisements and not the research,” he added.
The WHO also says that e-cigarettes have “no clear health benefits” and “many harmful effects, including cancer, asthma, and premature mortality.”
In the survey, nearly a third of respondents said they have used electronic cigarettes in the past six months, while nearly half (47%) reported using them for smoking, according to a statement released by the WHO.
Dr. DUTTA said the WHO’s recommendation is based mainly on research and does not cover all cases.
“It is not a blanket ban on all e-cigs.
This should be done by national governments,” he said.
The WHO has urged all countries to develop a “harm reduction strategy” to combat the growing demand for electronic cigarettes, which are expected to increase by 10% annually in India by 2020.
The WHO recommends that governments develop a harm reduction strategy to combat tobacco-related diseases.
The World Health Organisation’s Global Strategy for Tobacco Control and Prevention says that the tobacco control strategy must be implemented in a coordinated, comprehensive, and sustained way to prevent and combat the harms of tobacco and to prevent the spread of tobacco-Related Disease (TRD).
According to the WHO, the number of deaths from tobacco- Related Diseases has increased by more than 7% per year since the implementation of the Tobacco Control Strategy in 2000.
“We have to find ways to reduce the exposure to tobacco smoke, to reduce its harmful effects and to reduce use among those who need to quit,” Dr Dutte said.
“We also have to ensure that the devices do not contain harmful chemicals, as well as the manufacturing of the materials, which could lead to health problems,” he noted.
India is among the top 10 countries for the number and prevalence of cancer-related deaths, and the WHO recommends a comprehensive approach to combat smoking in India.
It also recommends that the use of electronic cigarettes should be discouraged and that they should be treated as tobacco product, in accordance with international standards.
While India is considered a smoking-free country, there are a few states where smoking is still permitted.
The Indian government has recently announced a ban on tobacco products in some restaurants and bars, and in public places.