Electronic Nicotine Delivery System (E-cigarettes) marketing, sale and availability - an emerging challenge for tobacco control in India
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Directorate of Health Service, India
The Union SEA Office, Tobacco Control & NCD, India
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A790
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Electronic Nicotine Delivery System (E-cigarettes) are being advertised as novel products in all media and platforms across the globe. Despite the fact that these products are still not evaluated for safety and effectiveness by any regulatory body in most countries including India; their advertisements claiming the e-cigarettes to be health friendly is on rampant especially in the internet media.To explore the availability of e-cigarette brands for Indian existing and potential consumers and to understand their distribution network and marketing tactics, the investigator did the internet search.

Investigator performed the keyword search on Google in May 2014 and November 2016. Brand websites were examined for specifics about each product (flavor and nicotine strength), ingredients, and their claims about the safety of the products and usefulness in smoking cessation. Distributor's network and kiosk selling these products were also searched for.

Total 112 brands of different flavor (12 types) and different nicotine strengths (9 types) of the e-cigarettes were found. In majority brands (95%), most common ingredients were chemical nicotine, propylene glycol, water and flavours. 10% websites claimed that their product are useful as smoking cessation devices. Most brands claimed their product to be healthier and safer (90%), suitable to use in public places (92%) and an economical option (70%) than conventional cigarettes. Near half of the websites gave their distribution details in the websites. 12 websites offer free shipping services, 27 websites offers the web chat options for marketing the products.

ENDS (e-cigarette) poses another challenge for tobacco control in India. The claims (especially healthier option and useful for cessation) of the websites marketing these products are questionable and needs further research. Ongoing advertisements on internet are the gross violations of Indian tobacco control legislation, and warrants stronger enforcement from the authorities.

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