A recent survey conducted by the Voluntary Health Association of India in Hyderabad has revealed that electronic cigarettes, despite being banned by the Union government in 2019, are still easily available in tobacco shops and are being sold to children under the age of 18. The survey was conducted through both online and offline modes, with field investigators observing the availability of e-cigarettes, verification of age, awareness among vendors of the ban on e-cigarettes, and subsequent penalties if found guilty. The key findings of the survey indicate that e-cigarettes can be delivered within 1-2 days when ordered online through various platforms such as e-commerce websites, exclusive vape websites, WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook or other social media sites, and are being sold without any age verification. E-cigarettes were also found to be available among tobacco vendors near educational institutions. The majority of vendors were not aware of the law banning e-cigarettes and were openly selling them. Additionally, a few websites asked for age verification while ordering online, but only required ticking a checkbox asking whether the buyer is 18 years or above. Most e-cigarettes being sold were found to be manufactured in China. The ban on electronic cigarettes was introduced to protect younger generations from a new form of toxic addiction. However, its enforcement has been weak, resulting in a market flooded with cheap and unbranded Chinese-made e-cigarettes. Bhavna Mukopadhyay, Chief Executive of the Voluntary Health Association of India, emphasizes the need for a coordinated effort at the Central and State level to ensure effective compliance and enforcement of the ban. Dr. Harit Chaturvedi, Chairman of the Max Institute of Cancer Care, also stresses the importance of ensuring effective compliance and enforcement of the ban to prevent e-cigarettes from becoming an epidemic among children and young adults.
Survey reveals open sale of banned e-cigarettes in Hyderabad
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