Why in the News E-CIGARETTES?

The World Health Organization (WHO) has released a report on e-cigarettes titled Electronic Cigarettes: Call to Action. According to the WHO, quick action is needed to protect children and halt the spread of e-cigarettes. According to the report, in all WHO regions, the rate of e-cigarette uses among children aged 13 to 15 is higher than that of adults. For example, in Canada, e-cigarette use among 16 to 19-year-old doubled between 2017 and 2022.


E-CIGARETTESWhat are e-cigarettes?

  • E-cigarettes produce an aerosol by heating a liquid that usually contains nicotine—the addictive drug in regular cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products—flavorings, and other chemicals that help to make the aerosol. Users inhale this aerosol into their lungs. Bystanders can also breathe in this aerosol when the user exhales into the air.
  • E-cigarettes are known by many different names. They are sometimes called “e-cigs,” “e-hookahs,” “mods,” “vape pens,” “vapes,” “tank systems,” and “electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).”
  • Some e-cigarettes are made to look like regular cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. Some resemble pens, USB sticks, and other everyday items.

What is an e-cigarette aerosol?

The e-cigarette aerosol that users breathe from the device and exhale can contain harmful and potentially harmful substances, including:

  • Nicotine
  • Ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs.
  • Flavoring such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to a serious lung disease
  • Volatile organic compounds
  • Cancer-causing chemicals
  • Heavy metals such as nickel, tin, and lead


Potential Benefit: E-cigarettes have often been suggested as a potential means to help smokers quit.

Concerns regarding e-cigarettes:

  • Typically, e-cigarette aerosols produce nicotine and other harmful substances that can hurt both users and bystanders who come into touch with them. Their use may increase the risk of heart issues and lung disorders. Nicotine usage during pregnancy may hinder the fetus’s capacity to develop a brain.
  • Issues with enforcement: Despite being prohibited by the Indian government in 2019, electronic cigarettes are still easily obtained from tobacco stores and online.
  • Motivate adolescents to develop addictions: The trendy looks and enticing flavors of e-cigarettes attract the younger generation, but they also carry the risk of nicotine addiction.
  • Less Regulated: Approximately 74 countries have no regulations restricting the sale of e-cigarettes, while about 88 countries do not have a minimum age restriction.
  • Young people are actively offered e-cigarettes through social media influencers.
  • Despite being promoted as aids in stopping smoking, there is conflicting evidence about their efficacy in this area.
Suggested Measures of E-cigarettes:
  • WHO: States should regulate access to and prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes as consumer goods.
  • E-cigarettes were outlawed in India by the Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacturing, Import, Export, Transport, Sale, Distribution, Storage, and Advertisement) Act, (PECA) 2019.
  • To stop the illegal sale of e-cigarettes, authorities should strictly enforce the prohibition and take harsh measures against local and internet merchants.
  • Increasing Knowledge of the Risks of Starting To Use Tobacco and Nicotine.
  • The 1975 Cigarettes Act: The Cigarettes Act, 1975, which required the placement of statutory health warnings in ads and on cigarette cartons and packaging, is the earliest piece of tobacco control legislation in India.
  • In addition to putting limits on tobacco advertising and promotion, the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade, Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act (COTPA) 2003 attempts to create smoke-free public spaces.
  • 2017 National Health Policy: It has been designed with the goals for the prevention of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in mind, and it sets an ambitious objective of 30 percent less tobacco use by 2025.
  • The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) has been ratified.
  • The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare oversees the National Tobacco Control Program (NTCP).


To preserve the public’s health, it is critical to take decisive action to stop the use of e-cigarettes, especially among children and teenagers, given the tobacco industry’s destructive impact and misleading marketing.

Source: The Hindu, Times of India, CDC.gov