E-cigarette traders seek help from CMs against ban

Photo for representation.

An association of e-cigarette traders, in the wake of the recent nationwide ban on electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) by the Centre, has sought the intervention of state governments into the matter.

The Trade Representatives of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (TRENDS) has written to all chief ministers, and are hopeful of receiving replies from at least the non-BJP ruled states, an official of the association said.

The traders have urged the states to conduct independent studies, evaluate the effects of e-cigarettes and arrive at a "rational" decision.

"Health is a state matter. The state health departments should seek the Centre's nod for conducting a study and taking an independent decision on the use of e-cigarettes. We have written to the chief ministers in this regard and are expecting responses from at least the non-BJP states," TRENDS convener Praveen Rikhy said over the phone.

In September, the BJP-led central government banned production, import, sale and distribution of e-cigarettes and similar products, citing health risks.

In its plea to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, TRENDS said, "We would request you, as the leader of West Bengal, to ask the central government to allow your state health department to conduct its own research and study so that a rational decision benefitting maximum number of people of the state can be taken."

With overall tobacco users (15 years and above) at 36.8 per cent and smokers at 16.7 per cent, the figures in the state are "quite alarming", Rikhy said.

TRENDS claimed that e-cigarettes could be a solution - both for smokers who want to "move to a lesser harmful option", and the state which gains from lower health costs and better mortality rates.

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