Taking note of India’s hard stance against vaping, the UK government has also come down heavily on vaping, e-cigarettes and new-age gateway products and has shared its proposal for public consultation to rein in on vaping by children.
The proposal in the UK comes at a time when Sarah Griffin (12) had to be placed in a medically induced coma after her lungs were severely weakened by vaping.
Although she has recovered, but the ordeal has left her with permanent lung damage.
Earlier this month, the Ministry of Health issued a clarification to the Ministry of Civil Aviation, emphasising the imperative for rigorous enforcement of the Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes Act (PECA), 2019.
While PECA may not explicitly state the prohibition of individual e-cigarette or vaping device use, its overarching intention is to ban all aspects of these products including its consumption.
PECA enforces a sweeping ban that encompasses all categories of electronic nicotine delivery systems, heat-not-burn products, e-hookahs and similar devices.
Experts have commended the Indian government for its recent focus on the rigorous enforcement of the Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes Act.
“The lack of awareness surrounding the risks associated with vaping is a huge concern in many countries, including India. Many school-going children are taking up vaping under the false assumption that it carries no risks or dangers. This alarming trend is troubling because young individuals may unknowingly become addicted,” said Sushant Kalra, Parenting Coach and TEDx Speaker.
"Both children and their parents often remain unaware of the severe health consequences of vaping, as they perceive it as a harmless activity involving the inhalation of flavours like apple or strawberry. India's ban on e-cigarettes was primarily motivated by the aim to protect the health of our vulnerable youth and children.
“What the UK is currently striving to achieve, India had already accomplished earlier by banning vaping devices, and the Indian government deserves commendation for its proactive stance. The onus is now on the people at large to collaborate with the state to protect and create a safe space for our children. The only way to do that is by learning and education,” Kalra added.
The PECA 2019 legislation effectively prohibits all aspects of these electronic cigarette products, spanning production, manufacturing, import, export, transport, sale, distribution, storage, and advertisement of e-cigarettes, rendering them illegal in the country. Recent developments show that the Indian government continues its efforts in this direction.
In July this year, the government issued takedown notices to 15 websites promoting e-cigarettes, and the Health Ministry is actively monitoring e-cigarette advertisements and sales on social media platforms, with additional actions in the pipeline.
“Although India’s efforts in implementing the ban on vaping is laudable, there is a need for more measures. While curtailing the availability of vapes through the grey market, both physically and online is crucial, demand side controls are also crucial. The addictive nature of vaping poses a growing threat to our children and youth in a post-Covid world,” Dr Rajesh Gupta, Additional Director Pulmonology & Critical Care – Fortis Healthcare Noida.
"As we continue to grapple with understanding the full effects of vaping on the human body, cases like Sarah Griffin's serve as stark reminders of the very real dangers that vaping presents to children. It is imperative for all countries to take strict measures to ensure that vapes do not reach the hands of children."