Experts urge policy-level changes in tobacco consumption

Chennai: Despite efforts to reduce tobacco burden in India by means of taxation and stringent labelling requirements, cigarette volumes have not witnessed any significant decline, said Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) president Dr K K Agarwal.

Emphasising on the policies and regulations of vaping products, including e-cigarettes, based on a consensus statement signed by leading medical practitioners, HCFI has written to the Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of Health and State Health Departments.

According to a press release, the statement is expected to be published in the April edition of Indian Journal of Clinical Practice.

“The consensus statement shared on the Indian Journal of Clinical Practice website highlights the need for a regulatory framework for vaping products, which allow adults to access quality-controlled products in their efforts to stop the use of combustible smoking with the objective to reduce harm,” said the press release.

Further, the letter also urges the Government of India to ensure that the policy for vaping products addresses: marketing and advertisement, limiting access to young population, safeguarding pregnant women, labelling, quality control and standards for manufacturing.

“In our letter, we have also recommended that Government of India should allocate funds for independent and continued research on the health effects of vaping products and guide their policies from time to time on the basis of evidence. There should be consistent guidance from regulatory authorities on product and ingredient standards  with a view to further reduce toxicity and addictiveness of any tobacco product and related harm reduction products,” Fortis Centre for Diabetes, Obesity and Cholesterol consultant diabetologist, Dr Anoop Misra, said.