Jagannath is an active member of the Association of Vapers India (AVI)
The situation is aggravated further by India’s poor public health coverage, where people in rural areas have to sometimes travel up to 200 kilometers to access a public health facility.
India is the largest battleground between the advocates and the prohibitionists of the world.
Nicotine comes at the current prices still remain out of reach even for existing cigarette smokers in India.
Promoting harm reduction strategies in tobacco control where users both smokers and smokeless are encouraged incentivized to manage risks by availing less harmful alternatives at competitive prices.
Both scientific and empirical evidence keeps mounting in the favor of tobacco harm reduction, the negative image this ban is creating in the minds of people will really take decades to address
This is also leading many vapors who successfully quit smoking going back, because they do not want to deal with the black market, the higher prices, inconsistent availability and proliferation of fakes.
The ban has unfortunately put India at the center of the fight between the prohibitionists and the advocates.
India plays a key role in the WHO Bloomberg strategy on developing nations to put prohibitions.
Low and middle-income countries are where 80% of tobacco users live at places where WHO and its allies will influence the most.
India’s ban was imposed by the then health minister, who has been a long-time WHO advisor of tobacco control and was thus deeply steeped in this fantastical philosophy of eradicating tobacco use from the world.
Other ways in which the WHO Bloomberg network keeps its grip on tobacco control agenda is exclusion.
This cartelization of tobacco control serves to insulate tobacco policies from any deviation from the path of total prohibitionism, with the added bonus of not having to address or interact with the public.
The victims of these are the people who use tobacco and safer nicotine products who in the case of India are being marginalized.
The Philippines now serves as an important counter to India on how THR alternatives can be addressed policy-wise in the developing world.
India has taken a hasty, myopic, and disastrous step, to deprive its tobacco users of safer means of consuming nicotine.
The Philippines has shown a more humane approach with foresight to help rescue people from long-term risks of tobacco consumption.
Even though the government has banned vaping and smoking, people will realize that it is the former that is significantly less harmful, and a safer means of consuming nicotine.
Awareness is spreading that SNUS and nicotine pouches are safer means of consumption of oral tobacco.
The Indian judiciary has many times supported arguments in favor of people’s right to access to safer nicotine alternatives.
This forum brings together advocates from the region all here with a single purpose of making safer nicotine alternatives accessible and available.