BIHARPOST NEWS DESK
PATNA: More than 1,000 doctors from 24 states and three union territories have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to enforce the ban Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) which includes e-cigarettes, e-hookah, before it becomes an epidemic in India.
The group of 1,061 doctors is extremely concerned over the way the trade and industry organizations’ are pitching for promotion of e-cigarettes on a public health matter.
The doctors are concerned about a media report that said 30 organisations had written to the Ministry of IT to prevent the ban on promotion of ENDS on the internet. They wrote that this is a public health matter and commercial interests should not be entertained.
On August 28 last year, the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) had issued an advisory to all states/UTs to ban ENDS. This March, a panel of health experts appointed by MoHFW submitted a report in which 251 research studies on ENDS were analysed, they said.
ENDS as bad as other tobacco product
The Panel concluded that ENDS is as bad as any other tobacco product and is definitely not safe.
“It will 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, 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,” Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, Deputy Director, Prof Head & Neck Surgical Oncology Tata Memorial Hospital said.
He further said E-cigarettes should not be promoted as a safe alternative. The only way is to completely quit smoking and not initiate use of any tobacco product. Tobacco companies want to hook a new generation on nicotine under the allure of safe smoking.
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.
According to Ashima Sarin, Director, Voice of Tobacco Victims (VoTV), there are 100 million smokers in India as per the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (2017), which is a potentially a large market for makers of ENDS.
“The ENDS lobby is spending lot of money on trying to get an entry into India,” she alleged.