India announced on Wednesday a ban on the sale of electronic cigarettes, as a backlash gathers pace worldwide over a technology promoted as less harmful than smoking tobacco. The announcement by India came a day after New York became the second US state to ban flavored e-cigarettes following a string of vaping-linked deaths.
“The decision was made keeping in mind the impact that e-cigarettes have on the youth of today,” Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told reporters in New Delhi.
E-cigarettes heat up a liquid — tasting of anything from bourbon to bubble gum or just tobacco, and which usually contains nicotine — into vapor which is inhaled. The vapor is missing the estimated 7,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke but does contain a number of substances that could potentially be harmful. They have been pushed by producers, and also by some governments, including in Europe, as a safer alternative — and as a way to kick the habit.
However, critics say that apart from being potentially harmful in themselves, the flavors of some liquids have turned millions of children into vapers — and potential future smokers.
The emergency legislation in New York, the second US state to ban flavored e-cigarettes, followed a mysterious outbreak of severe pulmonary disease that has killed seven people and sickened hundreds. President Donald Trump’s administration announced last week that it would soon ban flavored e-cigarette products to stem a rising tide of youth users.
Legislation is also being tightened elsewhere, and in Singapore e-cigarettes are already outlawed. In Japan, vaping and alternatives like “heat not burn” tobacco vaporizers are allowed but e-juices with nicotine are not. China, home to almost a third of the world’s smokers, indicated in July that it wants the “supervision of electronic cigarettes” to be “severely strengthened.”
The Indian ban covers the production, manufacture, import, export, transport, sale, distribution, and storage of e-cigarettes, as well as advertisements. The government said it would “advance tobacco control efforts” and “contribute to a reduction in tobacco usage.” Punishments include up to a year in prison.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), India is the world’s second-largest consumer of traditional tobacco products, which are not covered by the new ban, killing nearly 900,000 people every year. About 35 percent of adults are users, although chewing tobacco — which can also have flavors like chocolate and which also causes cancer — is more prevalent than smoking.
India is also the world’s third-largest producer of tobacco, the WHO says, and tobacco farmers are an important vote bank for political parties. According to the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry, an estimated 45.7 million people depend on the tobacco sector in India for their livelihood. India also exports around a billion US dollars worth of tobacco annually, and the government holds stakes in tobacco firms.
1. flavored adj.
(you3 tiao2 wei4 de5)
2. vape v.
(xi1 dian4 zi3 yan1)
3. nicotine n.
(ni2 gu3 ding1)
4. kick the habit phr.
(jie4 diao4 huai4 xi2 guan4)
5. pulmonary adj.
(fei4 bu4 de5)
6. tighten v.
Astronomers believe they may have found the first direct evidence of a new planet being born. A dense disc of dust and gas has been spotted surrounding a young star called AB Aurigae, about 520 light years away from Earth. Using the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT), located in Chile, the researchers observed a spiral structure with a “twist” near the center, which suggests a new world may be in the process of forming. The swirling disc was one of the telltale signs of the star system being born in the constellation of Auriga, the scientists said.
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