Smoke signals

The Asian Age.  | Malvika Ramesh

Life, More Features

Will the recent ban on e-cigarettes make young smokers go back to tobacco? We asked a few millennials to explain the vape culture.

The bill also states that those who continue to manufacture or sell e-cigarettes will be punished by court.

In recent times, millennials have been constantly facing a backlash from the Government. From being blamed for a low economic growth to cultural collapse in the country, the millennials have been made to feel like outcasts. Today, there is yet another way this tug of war between the youth and the Government continues to play out. The Government has passed an ordinance prohibiting the manufacturing and sale of e-cigarettes in India. The bill also states that those who continue to manufacture or sell e-cigarettes will be punished by court.

Mohammad KC, an entrepreneur from Bengaluru, says, “I used to smoke quite a lot and after I shifted to vaping, I don’t smoke cigarettes anymore. The idea of banning e-cigarettes doesn’t make sense. I understand that people have faced health issues because of vaping and that a few have even died, but how many people have died vaping in comparison to those smoking cigarettes? Most of us who vape, quit smoking instantly and gradually reduce the amount we vape as well. It helps us to quit smoking altogether. Now, the only option I have is to go back to smoking cigarettes.”

Assistant manager Samith Srinivas Gowda says, “I  think that this ban is just a result of tobacco lobbying. If you  consider health as an issue, then  ban the consumption of tobacco. It’s kind of frustrating, because I’m thinking about what I’ll do when I run out of flavours to smoke my vape. It’s just making me want to smoke a cigarette. I honestly don’t know what I am going to do now that vaping is banned, I can’t stand the smell of cigarettes now though, so no idea.”

In a press release, Association of Vapers India (AVI) has said that there are over eleven crore vapers in the country, who have gained health benefits because of switching to vaping from tobacco. This ban to them is considered to be a black day and the millennials are questioning this decision that they find absurd.  

Shipping company employee Nolan Mascarenhas says, “What we need is regulations, not bans. If you do not have a way to control something, it does not mean you just completely wipe out its use. Banning has never helped anyone; we can still find ways to use the products that are banned. If the Government was really concerned about improving the health of the people, they would put regulations on the consumption of cigarettes as well as e-cigarettes.”

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Most of the millennials who have been vaping for over a year now, believe that it has helped them cope with the after-effects of smoking nicotine and tobacco filled cigarettes. Talking about how smoking an e-cigarette has helped and what can be an alternative now, former jockey Sreekanth Gowda says, “As someone who smokes the vape on a daily basis, this ban brings in a lot of mental stress and anxiety for us. Although, I don’t think people who vape are going to stop, they’ll just find illegal ways to buy it. The difference from when I used to smoke cigarettes to smoking vape is that, now I can taste food, I can interact socially without being worried about the stink and, most importantly, I have greater peace of mind about my health.”