Vaping is a culture in itself. With compact devices like JUUL and Smok Pods being easily available for purchase, the number of people who use electronic devices is rapidly increasing. Be it any bar, club or concert in the city, you will always spot someone with a tiny metallic device that magically produces a white cloud when inhaled.
For those of you who don’t know what vaping is, it is a highly customizable way of ingesting nicotine without having to inhale the harmful toxins released by burning cigarettes. A standard vape consists of a battery module, a coil and a tank to fill your vape juice in. The battery powers the coil that heats up and vaporizes the juice. Instead of smoke, users inhale vapor.
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Then you have your Vape Pods like JUUL. These tiny devices are pretty much the same as conventional vapes but are more compact and easy to carry around.
In today's time, a single cigarette costs around Rs 15. And with every cigarette you are consuming, you are literally burning away that money while inhaling toxins like carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, Arsenic, Ammonia, Acetone Toluene and many other substances that will cause a lot of harm to your body in the long run.
Vaping has been proved to be a safer alternative than smoking and it has only 5% of the risk that comes with a conventional cigarette. So why does the Indian Government want to ban it by classifying it as a drug?
According to a report by the Press Trust of India, The Drugs Technical Advisory Board of India has approved a proposal to regulate Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (or ENDS) by classifying them as “drugs” and canceling them from being sold in the country. Under Sections 26A and 10A of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, this proposal plans to prohibit the sale, manufacture, import and distribution of all ENDS.
The proposal also states that, “After revisiting its earlier deliberations the Drugs Consultative Committee has recommended that since ENDS and related products are used as a tobacco cessation product and function for nicotine delivery, these devices fall under the definition of ‘drug’ as defined under Section 3(b) of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940.”
This move is highly recommended by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and they have suggested a “complete ban” on ENDS, saying such devices often become a gateway to smoking and can get a non-smoker addicted to nicotine.
When India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare examined the effects of vaping in 2017, they said that ENDS are as addictive as combustible cigarettes and they contradicted almost every toxicology study conducted all over the world.
But the world doesn’t see vaping as a gateway to smoking, rather they see it as an alternative to smoking or to quit smoking. It is even encouraged by the National Health Service in the UK as an acceptable alternative for smoking cigarettes.
So while our government plans on taking away our vapes, we spoke to Nishant Sharma who is a vape enthusiast and has been vaping for the past three years. Sharma says, “First of all, people start vaping to quit smoking. I have never come across a person who started vaping first and then felt like trying cigarettes. Our Netas don’t comprehend science and logic. It is outrageous what they are trying to do, but we know that they will have their way anyway. I guess vaping will be like smoking up now. People will buy vape juice like they buy weed and vape in secret spots around the city. The only thing they don’t have to worry about is the smell of their vapor spreading like the smell of weed.”
Another thing that the government is failing to notice is that there are a lot of businesses in our country that primarily depend on vaping. Everything from Vapes, batteries, tanks, coils and even Vape Juice is manufactured in India. A lot of shops and e-commerce portals sell these products and putting a complete ban on vaping would in evidently have a serious effect on all these businesses.
But an interesting theory was shared by another vape guru, Tushar Khanna. Khanna says, “There is an ulterior motive to banning vapes. The tobacco industry has a lot of money in it. And a lot of politicians and corporates are invested in this industry. The sudden rise of vapes and other such devices has caused tobacco sales to rapidly dip. Hence there is this heat against vaping as it would block these companies from selling their products here and people would go back to smoking.”
It is also possible that banning vaping will create a stigma around it. A lot of people don’t know what vapes are and if it is banned, they would form the impression that vaping is a bad thing.
So far we know that the manufacturing and sales of these products would be banned. However, it is unclear if the possession and consumption of a vape would be banned as well. Regardless of the verdict, it is likely that people would find a loophole around the ban and still vape.