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Despite plummeting smoking rates, India considers vaping ban

Posted by Matt Rowland on

Even though newly released national statistics show a rapid decline in smoking rates particularly among men, India is considering implementing a nationwide vaping ban.  More than a million people die every year from smoking related illness in this country, and smoking is also identified as the fourth leading cause of non-communicable diseases, accounting for approximately 53 percent of all deaths nationwide. 

Meanwhile, recently released data evaluating 13 different Indian states shows a strong decline in smoking rates in the past decade.  In 2015, male smoking rates dropped sharply to 47 percent – down 3 percent since 2005-2006.  That’s considered a huge number for a nation where nearly half of all men smoke about eight cigarettes per day on average.  

Related Article: E-CIG STUDY SAYS VAPING HAS NO NEGATIVE HEALTH EFFECTS ON MYOCARDIAL FUNCTIONS

Yet despite these just-released national statistics as published in the National Family Health Survey-4 , the government of India is considering a vaping ban.  These numbers were also confirmed in a second report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) entitled “Smoking Prevalence and Cigarette Consumption in 187 Countries, 1980-2012.” Why would legislators even consider a vaping ban when there are reams of scientific evidence claiming that vaping is up to 95 percent less harmful than smoking?

Roque committee suggests vaping ban

Just like in America, India seems to have misinformed public officials sprinkled throughout its political infrastructure.  To be clear, India has a tremendous smoking problem, and a 3 percent drop in ten years means that progress in public educational endeavors regarding the dangers of smoking is slow but steady.

So, when the Health Department of Maharashtra approached India’s Food and Drug Administration earlier this year to evaluate the possible benefits of instituting a vaping ban to further drive down smoking rates, the agency decided the idea needed further study.  As a result of the request, the Union Health Ministry formed a committee.  Unfortunately, these public officials may have chosen the wrong group of researchers to fill the committee seats– perhaps ones that were either misinformed or misguided in their professional motives.

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Eventually, the committee came back with their assessment that vaping devices and electronic cigarettes are both highly addictive and carcinogenic.  So, they proposed a vaping ban.  How they came to this conclusion is somewhat a mystery, but the ban was suggested nonetheless.

However, the current federal regulatory structure under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) does not allow for the legal implementation of such a ban at this time.  So, the Health Ministry of India is trying to come up with another way, one that involves the country’s Food Safety & Standards Regulation of 2011 or the Drug and Cosmetics Act. 

Yes, just like in America, if constitutional law does not provide provisions for implementing a law of some sort, India legislators will simply find some creative work-around.  The USA has the FDA.  India apparently has the COTPA. 

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