What is an e-cigarette?

What is an e-cigarette?

  • E-cigarette is a battery-powered device which vaporizes a liquid solution containing water, flavorings, propylene glycol and vegetable glycerol.
  • E-cigarette are also called electronics nicotine delivery  system (ENDS)
  • They are considered as a healthier smoking alternative as they do not contain carbon monoxide or tar.


Arguments in favour of the ban

  • According to the ministry, e-cigarettes contain nicotine, an addictive ingredient which has serious health-related ramifications.
  • Nicotine addiction through e-cigarettes may lead to its consumer to try conventional tobacco products and hence is a gateway product.
  • Further the government says e-liquids in e-cigarette contain nicotine in, propylene glycol and various flavours that are carcinogens.
  • According to a study published in Indian Journal of Medical Paediatric Oncology, 2015 following are the ill-effects of nicotine addiction:
    • Increased risk of cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal disorders
    • Decreased immune response
    • Negatively impacts reproductive health
    • Affects the cell proliferation
    • Oxidative stress
    • Apoptosis
    • DNA mutation leading to cancer
    • Proliferation of tumours and metastasis
    • Causes resistance to chemo and radiotherapeutic agents


WHO on e-cigarettes

  • WHO has urged the governments to regulate all Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) products.
  • According to WHO, there is no definitive proof that e-cigarettes help cut down smoking.
  • Nicotine exposure could harm brain development in both children and fetuses.



Arguments against the ban

  • According to The Council for Harm Reduced Alternatives (CHRA) ban on e-cigarette would deprive smokers of safer choices.
  • According to CHRA and AVI, e-cigarettes help people kick the habit and are thus harm-reducing in communicable diseases.
  • Further e-cigarettes are better alternative given the low success rate of gums and patches.
  • Some experts have argued the effects of nicotine addiction could be as benign as caffeine.
  • Some have highlighted potential benefits of nicotine in treating ADHD, Alzheimer’s disease and Schizophrenia.
  • They argue that people smoke for the nicotine but die from the tar.
  • Use of e-cigarettes in the U.S., E.U. and the U.K. has yielded positive results.


Laws regulating ENDS in India

  • The states have banned e-cigarette under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act and the Poisons Act, 1919.
  • Under Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) the Union government can regulate tobacco products.
  • According to the act it can prohibit any item which imitates cigarettes
  • Thus Union government could affect a ban on e-cigarettes under the COTPA though doesn’t have a specific provision to ban.
Section : Social Issues