Overlooking e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation tool in India: Experts

E-cigarettes estimated to be 95% less harmful than cigarettes

NEW DELHI.

In a recent report from the UK Parliamentary Committee on e-cigarettes, Indian experts have claimed that while they are 95 percent less harmful than tobacco cigarettes, they are often overlooked as a smoking cessation tool.

According to the recent report of the Lower House Science and Technology Committee, e-cigarettes should not be treated like traditional cigarettes.

The rules should be relaxed as regards the authorization, prescription and advertising of electronic cigarettes for their health benefits. Their level of taxation and the use in public places must be checked, it said.

"E-cigarettes and heat-resistant appliances are estimated to be 95% and 90% less harmful than cigarettes, so the committee recommended that e-cigarettes in public places should not be equated with tobacco products," said RN Sharan, a professor at the North Eastern Hill University in Shillong, Meghalaya.

"Many countries struggling with the tobacco-related national health burden and loss of productivity should stick to this report and re-examine their existing measures to use newer technologies to reduce tobacco-related health," he added

According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) 2016-17, India is home to 10 million tobacco smokers and is the second largest tobacco consumer country (over 300 million) in the world.

One in five adults in India uses smokeless (chewing) tobacco, and one in ten adults smokes tobacco, and the country also holds the record for the second-lowest tobacco abstinence rate, the survey found.

Therefore, the report of the Committee on India is particularly relevant, the experts said.

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