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Friday, February 3, 2023

Trade body wants govt to conduct survey before banning E-cigarettes

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Panaji: At the backdrop of Central government imposing ban on E-cigarettes in the Country, the trade body has urged Chief Minister Pramod Sawant to conduct a State level study before implementing the decision.

TRENDS, the voluntary association of Trade Representatives of ENDS in India – a group of importers, distributors, and marketers of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) devices has written to the Chief Minister requesting him to evaluate for himself what is in the best interests of the citizens of the state.

It claims that the electronic mode can help in reducing cancer by 50 percent.

In their letter CM, TRENDS pointed out that Union Health Ministry did not undertake any research, study or comparative assessment of risks associated with different methods of tobacco intake by Indians in all the years it has been sending advisories to states to ban E-cigarettes. Hence, they have depended on data from the US to justify the Ordinance Bill to ban E-cigarettes in India.

Praveen Rikhy, Convenor, TRENDS made a plea to the Chief Minister, saying, “We would request you, as the leader of the State of Goa to ask the Central Government to allow your State Health department to conduct their own research and study so that a rational decision that benefits the maximum number of people of the state, can be taken.”

She added, “Health is a state subject and the immense cost of diseases connected to tobacco consumption falls on the State exchequer. After all, if there is a safer alternative to cigarette smoking, which cuts cancer incidence by 50%, why should your state not offer the option to smokers In the State of Goa, the statistics for tobacco consumption is quite alarming, with overall tobacco users (15 years and above) at 9.7 and smokers at 4.2 %.”

TRENDS pointed out that E-Cigarettes could be a solution for both – smokers who want to move to a less harmful option, and the State which profits from lower health costs and better mortality rates.

TRENDS pointed out to the CM that the bill by the Union Health Ministry to bring about a ban on E-Cigarettes is based on ‘selective sourcing of scientific and medical opinion’ and without holding a single stakeholder meeting is nothing short of a complete murder of democratic norms.

TRENDS also sought to bring to the CM’s attentions some important facts related to E-cigarettes that had not received due consideration at the Union Health Ministry:

70 countries have regulated the E-cigarette category to allow access to adult smokers with safeguards relating to manner of sale, manufacturing, distribution, use, product design including e-liquid ingredients, advertising, promotion, trademarks, health warning labels and child-safety standards. [just 28 countries currently ban of which many are considering regulating e.g. UAE which lifted ban recently]

There has been a stark decline in smoking rates wherever E-Cigarettes have been regulated (US, UK, France and many others)

Leading Government and Public Health bodies deem E-Cigarettes as significantly safer than traditional cigarettes (Public Health England, Cancer Research UK, Royal College of Physicians, Santé Publique France and many others)

TRENDS concluded with a request to the Goa Chief Minister Pramod Samant to use his good offices to ask the Centre, particularly the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for a due diligence on the possible impact on public health, state exchequer, farmer and trade employment and adult consumers before taking a final decision for adopting the bill to ban E-cigarettes in the forthcoming session of the Parliament.

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