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January 16th, 2016:

Tobacco sale to minors: 7 yrs jail, ‘1 lakh fine

Mumbai : Anyone selling tobacco products to minors can now end up serving a seven year jail term and coughing up Rs one lakh in fine. This is one of the new provisions of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015 which came into effect on Friday.

The law called Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act 2003 prohibits the sale of cigarettes or other tobacco products to people below 18 years and in areas within a 100-metre radius of educational institutions. The penalty for violation, however, is not stringent and entails a fine of Rs 200 and up to three months in jail.

Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, professor and surgeon at Tata Memorial Hospital in Parel, said, “With this Act, India has become the only nation in the world to impose such a harsh penalty for selling tobacco to minors. It will save our future generations from this lethal habit. It is proven beyond doubt that tobacco kills every third user prematurely through cancer, heart disease and stroke.”

As per the Global Adult Tobacco Survey, the age of initiation of tobacco habits in India is 17 years. According to a Global Youth Tobacco survey, up to 20 percent of children

in India are users of tobacco. Further, nearly 27.5 crore Indians are using tobacco and a vast majority of them pick their habit in childhood and more than 5500 children /adolescents start tobacco consumption daily, informs Dr Chaturvedi.

Dr PC Gupta, Sekhsaria Institute of Public Health, Navi Mumbai, said, “Everyone in this world, including the tobacco industry, agrees that tobacco products are not meant for and should not be used by children. Yet most tobacco users started their tobacco use when they were children.”

Sanjay Seth, chief operating officer of Voice of Tobacco Victims, campaign said, “Almost every country, including India, has laws banning sale of tobacco products to minors. This law however, has been very difficult to enforce. In India, most points of sale do not even exhibit the notice about not allowing sale to minors along with a photo of mouth cancer patient as mandated by law. There are monetary fines for violations and they are miniscule. Also, offenders are very difficult to catch.”

Research shows electronic cigarettes lower odds to stop smoking by 28%

The manufacturers of electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) have been pitching the idea that smoking e-cigs is better than smoking tobacco cigarettes or cigars. They have also promoted the idea that e-cigs are a way to stop smoking cigarettes or cigars. EMPR, a publication to keep medical practitioners informed of new developments, released an article by Steve Duffy, digital content editor, for EMPR on Jan. 14, 2016 titled “How Effective Are E-Cigarettes in Helping to Quit Smoking?”

Stephen A. Glantz, PhD, professor of medicine at University of California San Francisco (UCSF) was a co-author of the study. The major conclusion is that e-cigs impair quitting smoking cigarettes.

The irony is that quitting smoking is one of the main reasons both adults and kids use e-cigarettes, but the overall effect is less, not more, quitting.

E-cig usage in the US for youths tripled from 2013 to 2014 according to The Lancet Respiratory Medicine article “Electronic cigarettes: more light, less heat needed” that was published on Jan. 14, 2016 by Stephen L Bernstein. The abstract for the full article, which can be purchased for $31.50, outlines some of the problem with e-cigs.

Electronic nicotine delivery systems may not burn, but the controversy surrounding them certainly does. Barely a decade into their manufacture, distribution, and sale, these systems have become the most widespread new nicotine-containing product. Touted by clever marketing as a healthy alternative to cigarette smoking, e-cigarettes have rapidly captured a growing share of the tobacco-using market. In the USA, for example, use of e-cigarettes among adolescents tripled from 2013 to 2014.

The EMPR article outlined how the UCSF study was conducted and the conclusions that were reached from the combination of a very large set of studies.

The UCSF researchers reviewed 38 studies to examine the correlation between e-cigarette use and smoking cessation. They combined the results from this review with a meta-analysis of 20 studies which included control groups of smokers not using e-cigarettes. Data from this analysis revealed that those who used e-cigarettes were 28% less likely to quit than those who did not.

The fact that they are freely available consumer products could be important. The inclusion of e-cigarettes in smoke-free laws and voluntary smoke-free policies could help decrease use of e-cigarettes as a cigarette substitute, and, perhaps, increase their effectiveness for smoking cessation.

The basic facts of e-cigs usage are:

  • E-cigs are an effective device to increase the blood-nicotine levels of users
  • Nicotine is one of the most addictive substances legally sold to users
  • E-cig users become more addicted to nicotine as they continue use. One of the characteristics of any addictive substance is that it takes increased dosages of the substance (nicotine, heroin, cocaine, crack, etc.) to obtain the same level of “satisfaction”.
  • E-cigs are being specifically formulated with flavor agents to appear to younger users from middle school age to those in their early 20s.
  • E-cigs are focused on sale to minors. In Columbus, OH there are two e-cig stores within less than 0.5 miles of Centennial High School. There are thousands of flavors available. A random search on the web provides, Brandy, Bubble Gum, Cappuccino, Champagne, Coffee, Cool Mint Menthol Tobacco, and Cotton Candy, etc. The list goes for 13 pages for this vendor, Viking
  • E-cigs are legally advertised on television, and in print media.
  • E-Cigs are not regulated as tobacco products by the FDA, and they can currently be used in most public places. Some states have banned sales of e-cigs to those under 18, and Hawaii has banned the sale and use of all tobacco products to those below 21.

A new generation of tobacco addicts is being created using e-cigs as the vehicle. E-cigs are dangerous to the health of users. Targeting minors by promoting and selling e-cigs exposes them to nicotine at an earlier age. The nicotine in e-cigs is a cardiovascular constrictor that increases blood pressure, heart rate, and produces cancer in the lungs, kidneys, liver and bladder. The propellant used in e-cigs degrades under high temperatures to irritate lung tissue and can be carcinogenic under some conditions.

The FDA is currently seeking formal jurisdiction over all forms of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. The proposed regulations that would have FDA control of all tobacco products, with the prohibitions on e-cigs to match those for cigarettes with regard to public facility use, advertising, sales to minors and flavorings applied to e-cigs were sent to the White House on Oct. 23, 2015. There is major pressure by e-cig manufacturers, e-cig users, and members of Congress to have the White House water down the regulations or delay implementation for e-cigarettes.

There is no indication as of Jan. 16, 2016 that the White House has responded to approve the FDA regulation of e-cigs and all other tobacco products. There is a bill in Congress, HR-2058, that is attempting to override the FDA’s proposed regulation of these products. Call the White House to request that the FDA regulation of all tobacco products are supported and that HR-2058 is rejected. The numbers are 202-456-1111 or 202-456-1414.

The E-Cigarette Saga – PHE statement: “95% safer than smoking”

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HP cigarette, bidi sellers protest compulsory registration

Summary: SHIMLA: Cigarette and bidi sellers in Himachal Pradesh today protested the government’s decision to make registration compulsory for vendors of tobacco products.

The Cabinet had yesterday decided to make registration of vendors for selling tobacco products compulsory but they alleged that the aim is to “bring the dealers under licensing system” which would harm their business.

“We have submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister, protesting the proposed legislation as it would badly hit our businesses,” Sharma said. “The decision tantamount to enforcing the licensing system which would hurt their business interest, expose them to harassment and open the door for officials to extract money,” Surinder Sharma, a member of Bidi Cigarette Vikreta Sangh claimed.

Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh has asked the health department to draft legislation for registration of retailers of tobacco products.After banning the sale of loose cigarettes, the government would make licence mandatory for sellers of packed tobacco products, including cigarettes, an official spokesperson said.

A bill in this regard is expected to be tabled in the legislative Assembly during the Budget Session.