A rapid survey conducted by the Voluntary Health Association of India (VHAI), a nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness about the harmful effects of tobacco use, revealed that, despite a ban, E-cigarettes are widely available in Hyderabad for children under the age of 18.
According to a press release, the field investigators who conducted the rapid survey discovered that E-cigarettes were sold without age verification, were delivered in a day or two when ordered online, and were available through tobacco vendors near educational institutions.
The survey’s key findings were that when ordered online (via E-commerce websites, exclusive vape websites, WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, or other social media sites), E-cigarettes were delivered within 1-2 days and were sold without age verification.
E-cigarettes were available near educational institutions by tobacco vendors. Few tobacco vendors were not selling E-cigarettes but assured a door step delivery as per the demand. The majority of the vendors were unaware of the law prohibiting the sale of E-cigarettes and were openly selling them. While ordering online, a few websites asked for age verification which merely required ticking a checkbox asking whether 18 years or above. The majority of e-cigarettes on the market are made in China.
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“The ban on electronic cigarette was introduced to protect our younger generation from a new form of toxic addiction. However, its enforcement has been weak, resulting in market being flooded with cheap and unbranded Chinese make E-cigarettes,” says Bhavna Mukopadhyay, Chief Executive, VHAI.
“E-cigarettes were banned in India due to its health risks and to ensure it doesn’t become an epidemic among children and young adults. Government must ensure the effective compliance and enforcement of the ban”, Dr. Harit Chaturvedi, Chairman, Max Institute of Cancer Care.
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