Mothers Against Vaping lashes out at predatory practices of int'l tobacco companies

New Delhi, Dec 5 (IANS): Upping the ante in its crusade against vaping and predatory practices used by companies to sell their products, Mothers Against Vaping, a united front of concerned mothers combatting the escalating vaping crisis among youth, has pointed out that companies are using new-age tobacco devices like Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), heat-not-burn (HNB) and e-hookah to snare young kids into becoming life-long customers.

It said this predatory targeting of children has also been highlighted by experts globally, and most recently discussed in the Scottish Parliament. It said members of the Scottish Parliament have been informed by an expert epidemiologist that vaping or e-cigarettes predisposes children to smoking cigarettes later in life. Professor Emily Banks elucidated to the Members of the Scottish Parliament the concerning and immoral intentions of vaping and tobacco giants to create ‘lifelong customers’ in children and teenagers. Her remarks echo the growing calls for a complete ban on disposable e-cigarettes in Scotland.

Banks also emphasised vaping is significantly restricted for approximately 25 percent of the global population. Interestingly, China has its own stringent restrictions on vaping products, despite being a primary producer of the fruity e-cigarettes prevalent in the UK market.

Mothers Against Vaping has consistently called out international tobacco and vaping companies for deliberately targeting children to establish a consumer base for their addictive and harmful products including all kinds of new-age gateway devices such as e-cigarettes and heat-not-burn electronic devices. Stressing on the critical need for increased awareness, the body has repeatedly highlighted on the urgency of educating the public about such intentions of these companies.

"Targeting children as a future market by tobacco and vaping companies is entirely unacceptable. Our stance against this unethical practice has been validated by global experts. Professor Banks's stance on this issue aims to increase awareness among stakeholders, urging for a halt to the advertisement and sale of vaping devices to children. Despite the ban on vaping devices and e-cigarettes in India, their availability is cultivating a generation addicted to these habits, potentially leading them towards tobacco use.

"It's crucial to debunk misconceptions that paint e-cigarettes as harmless vapor inhalation. Recent research underscores the substantial harm caused by inhaling these substances, posing risks to lung health and impacting various facets of children's development, including cognitive abilities and brain development," said Varuna Pathak, former Professor of Gynaecology and Obstetrics at the Gandhi Medical College.

Recent studies have provided evidence indicating that the aerosol from new-age gateway devices such as e-cigarettes contains particulate matter linked to mechanisms such as lung inflammation, DNA damage and an increased risk of lung cancer. Experts have highlighted that e-cigarettes and many new age gateway products are reported to contain approximately 900 to 2,000 distinct chemical entities with a substantial number still being unknown. Among the known components, many are recognized as hazardous, raising concerns about the potential health risks associated with e-cigarette and many other new-age gateway products.

The ultrafine particles and chemicals found in e-cigarette aerosols possess the ability to deeply penetrate the lungs, posing substantial risks to human health. These aerosols consist of particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter (PM2.5), notorious for its adverse impact on respiratory health. Additionally, the vapor emitted by e-cigarettes contains cancer-causing chemicals and heavy metals, including nickel, tin, and lead, further compounding the potential health hazards associated with e-cigarette and other new age gateway products usage.

"In addition to being considered a gateway to lifelong tobacco habits, these new-age gateway devices are fostering a new generation of individuals becoming habituated to these products. This rising trend is not only prevalent globally but also noticeable in India. Similar to the concerns raised by Scottish parliamentarians, our own parliamentarians should engage in discussions with experts to ensure that vaping and e-cigarettes do not take root within our country, said Bhavna Barmi, internationally-acclaimed clinical psychologist, public speaker and head psychologist at Fortis Escorts Heart Institute.

"Recent trends indicate a shift where more young individuals are initiating nicotine use through vaping rather than traditional cigarettes. This presents a significant challenge - a new generation becoming addicted solely through the use of e-cigarettes, which in turn will give rise to various psychological challenges among users," Barmi added.



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