Changes To India’s IT Act, Led To An Increased Tension Amongst E-Cigarettes Users. Exactly Why?

India’s ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY) is most likely to go back and take a check on vaping laid out as a part of its proposed rules for policing the internet content. The respected center has proposed strict changes to the Act where they have to withdraw all sort of advertisement of e-cigarettes from any sort of public forum or social media or web pages like Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp etc.

Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems or ENDS were asked to stop any sort of promotion of e-cigarettes. This system holds the right to promote e-cigarettes or any sort of vaping mechanism. At the moment they occupy a null grey area in India’s market.

This followed the submissions made by India’s uprising vaping community that using e-cigarettes is less harmful than traditional cigarettes. It is considered to be 95% less harmful than the original cigarettes. It is considered not to be as harmful as smoking or chewing tobacco. Therefore their appeal is that it should not be included in the newly imposed rules.

Officials from ENDs have given out for appeals that if vaping is actually promoting the reduction of cigarettes, reduction of intoxicants and not promoting any harmful substances then it shouldn’t be banned from the promotion. They believe there is nothing illegal in vaping and it is considered to help the smokers to quit smoking.

The Association of Vapers India(AVI), in its detailed submissions to MeitY on 31st January, the debate over the fact that as per the present framed amendments, it would prevent public health education on how vaping and e-cigarettes are less risky alternatives to smoking. The advocates of vaping say that this is a major wrong step taken in the public health policy especially in a country where the death rate is more than a million annually and the cause is of tobacco usage.

MeitY plans on keeping the public health provision in the rulebooks. However, they will probably keep in mind to not to promote anything that is contrary to the safety of safety and health of people including cigarettes and intoxicants.

Major organizations have also spoken up about the newly imposed intermediary guidelines, though most of them have spoken out of concern over surveillance and protectionism, not public health. Wikipedia, Mozilla, and Microsoft-owned Github recently have sent a letter to India’s government that is critically discussed of the proposed rules. The same has been done by the Asia Internet Coalition, a major industrial unit that represents giant tech platforms like Facebook, Amazon, and Google.

ENDs presently lie in a legal grey area in India. They are banned from 8 of 29 states. They are yet not banned nationally, though the health ministry has introduced a non-binding advisory suggesting something that clearly states to ban e-cigarettes.

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