Trichy: With several reports indicating that a ban on e-cigarettes is likely to be imposed anytime soon in Tamil Nadu, the Trichy district health department has started taking steps to ensure the possession and usage of electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) is monitored and curbed effectively as soon as a government order is passed regarding it.
A briefing about e-cigarettes, on how its prevalence could be tracked and the steps to be taken if and when a government order regarding its ban is passed, were discussed at a monthly review meeting of block health supervisors and health inspectors on Thursday.
A source from the health department said that though GO is yet to be passed, the district health department has already started to monitor. “Based on our recent inspections, the prevalence of ENDS is non-existent in the rural areas. And though the prevalence is unlikely to be high even in the urban limits, we’ll monitor the scenario in the city” the source told TOI.
City health officer (CHO) in-charge Dr Rajeswari said that the health department is yet to find out how prevalent e-cigarettes are in the city. But sources said that e-cigarette products are available in a few shops in the city and also that some customers buy it online. Most of the e-cigarette smokers constitute habitual smokers.
Doctors in the city welcomed the likely ban on nicotine gadgets. They said that though the e-cigarette products are marketed as a safer alternative to smoking and as something that would make a person quit smoking, these products are still very harmful.
“There are at least 10 to 15 chemicals in e-cigarettes that could possibly cause cancer. So it’s in no way a safer alternative. And contrary to the perception that e-cigarettes would let one quit smoking, if a non-smoker tries it, it could even instigate him to become a smoker,” director of Tamil Nadu Asthma and Allergy Research Foundation (TAARF), Dr G Kamal said.
During the meeting, it was decided that all tobacco products which do not carry the new set of specified health warnings, would be confiscated. The new specified health warnings which would have 85% of the pictorial display in the tobacco products came to effect on September 1.