Youths suspect government’s intention of banning e-cigarettes

Dewangi Sharma

Pune, September 20, 2019 : In order to save the youths from fatal and harmful effects of e-cigarettes, the Union Cabinet in a major policy decision to completely ban the production and use of electronic cigarettes in India.

E-cigarettes were marketed by tobacco companies as being a safer alternative to conventional cigarettes and other nicotine-based products but several reports by American and Indian medical teams as well as the WTO have refuted this claim and have mentioned the harmful effects of these pen like electronic tobacco devices.

E-cigarettes have been particularly popular with the youth, giving them a ‘cooler’ and convenient option for smoking.

Manish Joshi, a 25 year old management professional working in Pune, said, “This step by the government would hardly make any difference as e-cigarettes were inherently a little expensive and were mostly used by the rich and well off teenagers and young people who are anyway aware of the ill-effects of nicotine. After this step they would either find alternative options or illegal ways to continue consuming nicotine.”

Many youngsters feel the same and say that this move by government will hardly have any impact on health and addiction of youngsters.

Devanshi Masand, a second year law student who partially welcomes the move, considering that it is the government’s duty to ensure the safety and health of its citizens but criticizes the half-hearted step taken by the government saying, “all kinds of cigarettes and tobacco products are harmful and traditional cigarettes are used even more, in such a situation the banning of just e-cigarettes doesn’t justify the ‘health and safety’ argument of the government.”

Most youngsters are not entirely happy with the government move, especially the ones who smoke saying that the government is denying them a convenient and safer alternative to cigarettes and is overtly interfering in their lives.

Diksha Sharma, a Chartered Accountant who is currently studying at Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs, believes that the government has never been really concerned about public health or welfare and has been increasingly interfering with youngsters’ choices starting with porn and now e-cigarettes.

She believes that this step might just be a move to increase its revenue of which traditional cigarettes form a good enough portion. Banning of any product is never able to give the government desired results rather it aids illegal and crooked ways of trading and consumption.

The suspicion against government’s rather bold step comes from the fact that Government of India holds 28% share in Indian Tobacco Company (ITC) which is a leading manufacturer of cigarettes. With this in mind, many in the country have doubts that the government’s decision might have nothing to do with health at all.