Tobacco kills more than 7 million people each year - Seeker's Thoughts

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Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Tobacco kills more than 7 million people each year

  • Tobacco kills up to half of its users.
  • Tobacco kills more than 7 million people each year. More than 6 million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while around 890 000 are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.
  • Around 80% of the world's 1.1 billion smokers live in low- and middle-income countries.– WHO 

India has stringent laws to deter tobacco use, which the government says kills more than 900,000 people every year. As per the World Health Organization report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic 2017, governments of 30 countries which includes, Mauritius, Australia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Brazil, Mexico, Uruguay, Bahrain, Iran Saudi Arabia, and UAE, have already banned the electronic cigarettes.

Electronic cigarette or e-cigarette

It is a handheld electronic device that simulates the feeling of tobacco smoking. It works by heating a liquid to generate an aerosol, commonly called a “vapor” that the user inhales. Using e-cigarettes is commonly referred to as vaping. The liquid in the e-cigarette, called e-liquid, or e-juice, is usually made of nicotine, propylene glycol, glycerine, and flavorings. Not all e-liquids contain nicotine.

How they work?
Most e-cigarette has:
·       A mouthpiece or cartridge 
·       A healing element 
·       A rechargeable battery
·       Electronic circuits

As the user sucks on the mouthpiece, a sensor activates a heating element that vaporizes a flavoured, liquid solution held in the mouthpiece. The person then “vapes,” or inhale, the aerosol solution.
The mouthpiece is a cartridge that is fixed to the end of tube. The cartridge can either be refilled or replaced with another pre-filled cartridge when necessary. The atomizer is a heating element that heats the liquid, causing it to vaporize. The solution can then be breathed in or inhaled. The battery powers the heating element. This is normally a rechargeable, lithium-ion battery. The sensor activates the heater when the user sucks on the device. An LED may show when it is activated.

Health Effect by Smoking E- cigarettes
The report found conclusive evidence that the clear majority of e- cigarettes contain a wide variety of substances that are potentially toxic. There is also substantial evidence that “heart rate increases after nicotine intake from e- cigarettes” and that “some chemical present in e-cigarette aerosols (e.g., formaldehyde, acrolein) are capable of causing DNA damages and mutagenesis.

What steps India has taken to curb E-cigarette?

The ministry of commerce and industries has urged the health ministry to frame law banning manufacture and sale of e-cigarettes in the country as in the absence of the domestic legislation, it would not be possible to put a blanket ban on its imports.

The ministry of commerce and industries has stated that without banning domestic sale and manufacturing of electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) through law, it will be an infringement of global trade norms to put an import ban.

Earlier, the health ministry had asked the commerce ministry to issue a notification banning the imports of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), including e-cigarettes and flavoured hookah.

Union health ministry considering stopping the sale or import of electronic cigarettes and heat-not-burn tobacco devices that companies like Philip Morris International were planning to launch in the country. Philip Morris  is an international  leading tobacco company which develops less harmful alternative to cigarette  

 In a move to protect health risks to children, adolescents, and women of reproductive age, health ministry also has asked states to ban electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) including E-cigarettes, vape, E-sheesha, e- hookah, etc.

In an advisory to state governments, the health ministry said such devices were a “great health risk” and it was possible that children and non- smokers using such products could switch to cigarettes once they get addicted to nicotine.

The government took a strong position on such products with tobacco even against giant organization like Philip Morris as the company has been planning to launch its iQOS smoking device in India Philip Morris was working towards achieving iQOS’s acceptability as a reduced risk product in the country.

Government “sending a strong message” about how many such products are harmful to the public especially for the youth of the country.

In recent years, the Indian government has emphasized its tobacco- control efforts raising cigarette taxes, ordering companies to print bigger health warning on packs and introducing a quit smoking helpline opened at many rehabilitation Centres in the country.