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  • Trade representatives of E-Cigarettes in India forward UK’s health policy body’s statement to Minister of Health, Dr. Harsh Vardhan

    Published on October 31, 2019

    New Delhi: TRENDS, the trade representatives of E-Cigarettes in India have today written to the Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Harsh Vardhan and shared with him the latest statement issued on 29th October 2019 by Public Health England (PHE) on E-cigarettes.

    PHE is the policy guide to NHS – Britain’s government run public health service and one of the largest such systems is the world.

    In response to the reports around vaping led illness emanating from the US, PHE in its latest statement has said, ‘We are as certain as ever that e-cigarettes are far less harmful than smoking, which kills almost 220 people in England every day. Our concern is that the responses we have seen to the problem in the US and in other countries may increase the already widespread misunderstanding about the relative safety of nicotine e-cigarettes, deterring smokers from switching and risk driving vapers who have switched back to smoking. There is a real risk therefore that such a reaction will mean people continue to smoke, which will undoubtedly put lives at risk.’(https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2019/10/29/vaping-and-lung-disease-in-the-us-phes-advice/)

    PHE pointed to the fact that US Federal authority CDC has made it clear on their website that the cause of the outbreak has been narrowed down to illegal THC-containing products, but the specific substance or substances has not been identified yet. And that these products are being obtained off the street or from other informal sources. They further clarified that this is not a problem linked to long-term use of regulated nicotine vaping products.

    PHE further noted that no vaping-related cases have been reported in the EU to date, that restrictions under the European Tobacco Products Directive mean that main chemicals under suspicion in the US such as THC and Vitamin E acetate oil are not permitted in e-cigarettes and that  Vaping carries a small fraction of the risk of smoking.

    PHE has undertaken three rounds of assessment on E-cigarettes over last four years. The PHE Report is an evidentiary review of over 400 peer-reviewed articles on the subject of vaping.

    TRENDS expressed hope that the Health Ministry will consider the PHE statement and all available evidence, studies and best practices from around the world while evaluating what is in the best interests of the citizens of India and then take a final decision with regard to E-cigarettes.

    Speaking on this, Praveen Rikhy, Convenor, TRENDS, said, “With the proposed Electronic Cigarette Bill 2019 being put up by the Health Ministry in public domain for comments and feedback, we hope the Health Minister will also now heed our request for a stakeholder consultation before making any decision, in keeping with India’s strong democratic norms.”