Tracking e-cigarette news around the world

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India’s health ministry recommended in August that all its states ban vaping. However, a UK government inquiry said its government should consider allowing e-cigarettes on public transport. In May 2018, new tobacco legislation regulating vaping came into effect in Georgia (WHO). And in April, Switzerland overturned its ban on e-cigarettes (Swissinfo).

The picture is mixed across the globe on official attitudes to electronic cigarettes and Vaping. Vaping is the act of using electronic cigarettes. India has been making efforts to reduce smoking drastically overall, but still has more than 100 million smokers in its population of 1.3  billion.

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May 2018:

  • Law regulating vaping comes into effect – 


August 2018:

India’s health ministry advised states to ban e-cigarettes, vaping, e-Shisha and e-Hookah – It said these devices should not be sold online or offline, manufactured, imported or advertised. The advisory says these devices “are a great health risk to the public at large, especially to children, adolescents, pregnant women and women of reproductive age.” It also says “nicotine may function as a ‘tumor promoter’ and that long-term exposure could lead to learning and anxiety disorders. Most cigarettes also contain nicotine. Some of India’s states, including Punjab, Karnataka, Mizoram, Kerala, Jammu & Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar have already prohibited the manufacture, distribution, import and sale of e-cigarette devices. The Council for Harm Reduced Alternatives (CHRA), a national tobacco harm reduction organization, and the Association of Vapers India (AVI), an advocacy group representing e-cigarette users, claim e-cigarettes are “95 percent less harmful compared to tobacco cigarettes” and a ban would deprive them of safer choices (The Hindu). The Indian government says tobacco use kills more than 900,000 people every year (Voanews).


April 2018:

  • Court overturns a country ban on E-cigarettes. In contrast to the UK study finding, lung specialists said e-cigarettes should be forbidden on public transport.

United Kingdom

August 2018:

  • E-cigarettes inquiry by UK government’s Science and Technology Committee said the government should consider allowing e-cigarettes on public transport (See here for more) – The report said the government should support making e-cigarettes more widely used. However, studies have not reached a conclusion about the long-term health impacts of smoking e-cigarettes. A review by UK government agency, Public Health England, found, like the Indian research, that e-cigarettes were 95 percent less harmful than traditional smoking.

United States

September 2018:

  • The Food and Drug Administration has ordered five companies to submit plans within 60 days detailing how they will prevent teens from using their e-cigarette products or it will potentially forcefully remove them from circulation. Supporting this decision, the Health and Human Services Secretary, Alex Azar, told news outlet CNBC “we are not going to permit e-cigarettes to become a pathway to nicotine dependency” and disagreed that banning e-cigarettes would make youth turn to conventional cigarettes instead.Until very recently, manufacturers and distributors of e-cigarettes and other vaping devices were not bound by FDA safety standards for smoked tobacco products. Despite the new regulations, manufacturers are still free to present a risk-free image of e-cigarettes in their marketing, according to the Center on Addiction.

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Vaping around the world

  • Though the legal status of e-cigarettes is pending in most countries, in 2015 around two-thirds of major nations had regulated e-cigarettes in some way.
  • In the United States, at least 48 states and two territories have banned e-cigarette sales to minors. In 2016 the US Department of Transportation banned the use of e-cigarettes on commercial flights.
  • Brazil, Singapore, the Seychelles, and Uruguay have outright banned e-cigarettes.

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