After the prohibition of Vape Expo India, which was supposed to begin in September 2017 in New Delhi, the Indian e-cigarette market continues to experience new developments. The country has 29 states, and 6 amongst them have already banned the manufacture and sale of vaping products.
Bihar is the sixth Indian state to ban vaping. Punjab, the first state to adopt anti-vaping measures, banned e-cigarette consumption in 2015. The expansion of these bans has been swift, and in years to come could affect every single Indian state.
Supported by anti-tobacco committees, this decision is intended to prevent young people from being introduced to products containing nicotine. Far from the craze created by e-cigarettes in 2010 (especially in the United States and Europe), India does not seem to view the e-cigarettes as a healthy alternative to tobacco.
If not the e-cigarette, what kinds of alternatives are there to tobacco?
Although there are 100 million smokers amongst 1.3 billion inhabits in India, the vaping ban doesn’t offer any alternatives to tobacco. Tobacco is known to be highly addictive. Consequently, there are few motivations to actually quit. And even though chewing gum that contains nicotine is a registered medical solution for quitting tobacco, e-liquids containing nicotine are far from being considered legitimate.
The vaping ban is far from unanimous, especially amongst supporters of e-cigarettes. Samraw Chowdhery, an Indian journalist who is in favor of vaping, regrets the lack of healthy alternatives to help people quit tobacco. He hopes that the increase of scientific studies demonstrating the benefits of e-cigarettes will help improve public opinion. According to him, India, a leader in technology, should open its eyes to a technological innovation whose goal is to improve public health. Nonetheless, negotiations might take a long time before the anti-vaping Indian states change their opinion.