Recently, the Indian Central News Agency (BCCL) reported that a day after the World Health Organization (WHO) called on governments to treat e-cigarettes as tobacco and ban all flavors, health experts in India called on the government to take immediate action. The appeal also includes a plea for citizens to give up smoking. E-cigarettes, commonly known as e-cigarettes, are seen by some as a potential tool to mitigate the adverse health effects of traditional smoking, but the WHO insists "urgent measures" are needed to control their growing use.
In India, there is a worrying trend with more young people aged 13-15 using e-cigarettes than adults, suggesting an aggressive marketing strategy to attract the younger crowd.
Dr Vijay Dutt, a physician and pulmonologist at the Indian Spinal Injury Center (ISIC), told IANS, “In India, like other WHO member states, 13- Teenagers as young as 15 and even adults are using e-cigarettes. The heavy marketing of e-cigarettes has attracted more young people. There is enough research and good evidence that e-cigarettes can also cause health problems and affect the lungs. It may help Tobacco smokers are able to quit smoking, but they are harmful to health and can cause nicotine addiction in non-smokers, especially children and young adults."
These experts emphasized that e-cigarettes cannot replace smoking tobacco. More than 8.67 million deaths are attributed to tobacco use each year, underscoring the urgency of addressing this public health crisis.
Dr Soumya Mukherjee, consultant and specialist in BMT, haematology and hematology-oncology at Narayana Hospital in Ulla, told IANS, "We cannot identify with the industry view that e-cigarettes pose significantly lower health risks than tobacco. Young people are falling into the trap of early use of e-cigarettes and may become dependent on nicotine. Strict measures are crucial, and a comprehensive ban may be the most effective solution approach. This includes banning all flavors, such as menthol, and applying tobacco control measures to e-cigarettes."
The WHO said that while the long-term health risks of e-cigarettes are unknown, they produce substances known to cause cancer, pose risks to heart and lung health and may affect brain development in young people.
Smoking tobacco is a major risk factor for premature death in India and experts have stressed the urgency of addressing the issue, identifying tobacco use as one of the unhealthy behaviors that contributes to the preventable burden of cancer, stroke and heart disease. "Nicotine and e-cigarette products have serious negative health effects on children and adolescents. Nicotine inhaled through e-cigarettes can harm the developing brain, affecting memory, attention, and impulse control. Nicotine is highly addictive and early exposure Increases the risk of lifelong addiction," Dr Nehal Shah, a pediatrician at SRCC Hospital in Mumbai, told IANS.
Dr Shah said it was vital to educate young people about the risks of nicotine and e-cigarettes, raise awareness and prevent starting this harmful habit and protect the happy lives of the next generation. Action should be taken to ban all forms of smoking.