“Don’t make me smoke again”: E-cigarettes users protest in B’luru against ban

Bengaluru: Holding placards with messages such as ‘Smoking is Dead, Vaping is the Future’, ‘The Government is denying Science’ and ‘Vaping ends Smoking’, about thirty people staged a protest in Bengaluru’s Freedom Park on Sunday against the Centre’s decision to ban e-cigarettes and vaping in the country.

This was a part of the nation-wide protest called by the Association of Vapers India (AVI) against the ban on e-cigarettes, announced by Union Government earlier this month. The protest was also held in several cities across the country including Hyderabad, Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata and, Chennai.

The members threatened to take legal recourse if the Centre does not review the ban, announced: “without adequate research or public debate.”

People who staged protest were angry that the government took the decision without a public discussion. Some of them said a lot of people, who were regular smokers, had quit smoking after they were introduced to vaping. With the ban, some said they might be tempted to go back to smoking cigarettes.

“The Government has not banned the usage of e-cigarettes or vaping. There is, however, a ban on production, manufacturing, import, sale, and distribution of such items. We are not able to buy e-cigarettes anywhere in the market. The government should lift the ban on vaping,” one of the protestors said.

Another protestor said vaping is legal in several foreign countries but it is well regulated. “Instead of outrightly banning e-cigarettes and vaping, the government should regulate it,” he said. He also felt the lobby of cigarette manufacturers was behind the move of banning vaping in the country.

Several medical practitioners were also part of the protest, stating that there was no evidence so far that vaping is harmful to people’s health as against smoking cigarettes. The Association requested the Government to hold a public debate before banning electronic cigarettes and vaping.