Expressing concern over the higher possibility of nicotine addiction through e-cigarettes and other Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan revealed that he is in favor of banning such devices.
"In our national consultation it has been shown that children and other non-smokers tend to develop nicotine addiction at a rate greater than situations where ENDS did not exist. And after that the slide to tobacco is practically inevitable," Harsh Vardhan said, while addressing the 45th Union World Conference on Lung Health here, by citing research findings which have held that ENDS are no less unsafe than the 'real thing'.
The minister further said that e-cigarettes and similar products push children towards the tobacco habit eventually via nicotine dependence. However, he added that a mere ban would not solve the crisis.
"The success of a ban strategy will depend on how we agree to control illicit trade and cross border sales of such products. The use of the Internet for this trade should also be curbed," he said.
"I am sure all experts present here are aware of the power of the tobacco industry. India is committed to taking proactive measures to counter the challenges they throw up," Harsh Vardhan added.
India is home to a reported 275 million tobacco users. Earlier this month, Harsh Vardhan issued a notification, which will require cigarette companies to cover 85 percent of the surface area of their packets with a graphical and literal statutory warning.