Electronic cigarettes (‘e-cigarettes’) are nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) that heat a nicotine cartridge and allow users to inhale the vaporized liquid. There is no substantial evidence to prove that ENDS are effective for cessation and are less harmful than the traditional tobacco products and these are marketed in such a manner by the industry that the consumers are influenced by it. In India, the sale of E-Cigarette is largely unorganized and unregulated. A popular conventional brand such as ITC is promoting EON brand E-Cigarette popularly known as an electronic vaping device.
The present legal and regulatory gaps and dilemma in India are being used by the industry to forcefully push the entry despite government intent to restrict the entry of ENDS in the larger public interest. The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India on 28th August 2018 issued an advisory to all States/UTs, to ensure that Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), e- cigarettes, Heat-Not-Burn devices, Vape, e-Sheesha, e-Nicotine Flavoured Hookah, and the like devices that enable nicotine delivery are not sold (including online sale), manufactured, distributed, traded, imported and advertised in their jurisdictions.
E cigarettes which have made inroads into the lives of Indian youth, has also entered the US market as well. Results of National Youth Tobacco Survey reveal that use of e-cigarettes among high school students has increased from 1.5% (220,000 students) in 2011 to 20.8% (3.05 million students) in 2018 (p<0.001). The situation among middle school students is not bright either. Current e-cigarette use among middle school students increased from 0.6% in 2011 (60,000 students) to 4.9% (570,000 students) in 2018. For more information, click here
Consumer VOICE, recently conducted an observational study in the month of February 2019 to find out retail availability of e-cigarettes, and perception associated with it. In order to understand E-Cigarette brands sold in India, a five-city survey was conducted in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, and Lucknow.
The objectives of the survey were:
- To identify the major brands of E-Cigarettes being sold in India
- To determine the actual prices for the various brands available in the market
- To assess the sellers’ perception of demand for E-Cigarette
- To assess the buyers’ perception of need and use of E-Cigarette
The actual sample size covered was 100 respondents with 25 each in Mumbai and Delhi, 20 each in Bengaluru and Kolkata and 10 in Lucknow.
The survey reveals there is easy availability of E-cigarettes in various states despite the ban in eleven states and one Union Territory with many brands on E-Commerce platforms.