NEW DELHI : A united front of mothers combatting the menace of vaping addiction among Indian youth has written to women parliamentarians, including Nirmala Sitharaman and Smriti Irani, flagging the easy accessibility of vaping devices and urging them to join their cause. 

In their letter, the ‘Mothers Against Vaping’ highlighted that despite the ban on e-cigarettes and vaping devices, their use among children and youth has surged to alarming proportions.

India had announced a ban on the sale, storage and manufacture of e-cigarettes in 2019 by bringing in the Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes Act 2019 (PECA).

The letter underscored a disturbing trend, with numerous instances of school children being caught with e-cigarettes. 

Despite the ban, a multitude of attractive vaping devices remain readily accessible to children, they said.

Dr Deepa Malik, a paralympic medallist and a leading member of ‘Mothers Against Vaping’, said, “All Parliamentarians and specially women Parliamentarians need to raise relevant issues relevant to mothers, for the sake of the health of our children and next generation.”

Vaping is a pressing concern with the potential to jeopardising the health and future of countless children. 

“As such, we earnestly implore our women parliamentarians to bring this critical issue to parliamentary debate, speaking from the perspective of mothers, and ensuring that banned products do not find their way into the hands of our vulnerable children,” she said.

Vaping devices have evolved with attractive designs and various flavours ranging from strawberry to bubble gum, making them highly popular among children and young people. 

The letter underscored that despite the ban, various media reports and articles continue to promote the usage of e-cigarettes and attempt to provide unscientific support for adopting e-cigarettes or heat-not-burn electronic devices in India. 

But the stark reality is that with the increasing usage among our children, vaping is at risk of becoming an epidemic akin to what transpired in the United States, they said. 

Dr Bhavna Barmi, a clinical psychologist and head psychologist at Fortis Escorts Heart Institute said, “Just as adult content is banned in India and not available in media, similarly, no media should be permitted to publish any material in support of e-cigarettes”.

Such media outlets that contravene the law should also face prohibition, and any discourse on banned e-cigarettes must not be allowed in the public domain. Children often rely on such media reports and news as crutches to adopt this extremely harmful habit, they said.

The front also lauded the government’s recent declaration that the possession of e-cigarettes in any form, quantity, or manner constitutes a direct violation of the law.

The letter also said that the absence of penalties for users has undermined the effectiveness of the ban.

The front has been actively advocating for essential amendments to the law, which includes making the act of vaping or using e-cigarettes illegal. 

The objective is to establish an environment where children and adolescents have no alternative but to comply with the law, thereby safeguarding them from the perils of vaping.

“In this endeavour, women parliamentarians will play a pivotal role in championing this cause and spearheading the required legislative changes,” it said. 

“Exciting news! Mint is now on WhatsApp Channels 🚀 Subscribe today by clicking the link and stay updated with the latest financial insights!” Click here!

Catch all the Politics News and Updates on Live Mint.
Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates & Live Business News.


Updated: 12 Oct 2023, 11:15 PM IST

Source link