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Business News/ Science / Health/  Majority of students in 14-17 age group not aware vaping, e-cigarettes banned: Survey
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Majority of students in 14-17 age group not aware vaping, e-cigarettes banned: Survey

A survey conducted by the Think Change Forum reveals that 96% of students aged 14-17 in India are unaware that vapes and similar electronic devices are banned in the country, while 89% are unaware of their harmful effects

The survey findings come amid the Union Health Ministry sending notices to 15 websites selling e-cigarettes, which are banned in India, directing them to stop advertisement and sale of the products. (AP)Premium
The survey findings come amid the Union Health Ministry sending notices to 15 websites selling e-cigarettes, which are banned in India, directing them to stop advertisement and sale of the products. (AP)

Ninety-six per cent of students in the age group of 14-17 years who took part in a survey do not know that vapes and similar electronic devices are banned in India, while 89 per cent of them are unaware of their harmful effects, according to a study.

The survey findings come amid the Union Health Ministry sending notices to 15 websites selling e-cigarettes, which are banned in India, directing them to stop advertisement and sale of the products.

The study titled "Ideas for an Addiction-Free India" was conducted by the Think Change Forum (TCF), an independent think tank which recently conducted the survey in covering 1,007 students in public schools in Delhi, Gurugram, Noida, Mumbai, Pune and Bengaluru.

The survey highlights a shocking gap in awareness among our most vulnerable members, our children, regarding the ill effects of addictive products like vaping that are driven by new technology. It must be noted that a new class of high-tech vaping gadgets and similar electronic devices are being aggressively marketed by the addictive substances industry by positioning them as less harmful than conventional smoking products to attract adolescents and youth to expand their markets. These devices are acting as a gateway for our unsuspecting children to be inducted into the world of addiction. 

It is alarming that an overwhelming majority of 96% of the children surveyed were not aware that vaping and similar electronic devices are banned in India. 

Among those who were not aware of the harmful effects of vaping, 52% perceived vaping as "completely harmless" and viewed it as a cool and fashionable activity. Another 37% considered it "moderately harmful" but lacked understanding about the nature of the harm. Only 11% of the children correctly identified vaping and other electronic devices as harmful.

Speaking about the survey results, Sushant Kalra, Parenting Coach & TEDx Speaker said, "It is deeply troubling to see such a high percentage of children unaware of the harmful effects of vaping. This ignorance makes children in the age groups of 14 to 17 years ‘highly prone’ to taking up vaping or other types of electronic device delivering addictive substances. Glamourization and normalisation of such habits among children have thrown a blanket of ignorance over the harmful effects of vaping. It is evident that parents and educators are not proactively discussing such habits or making efforts to prevent their children from adopting them. There is an urgent need for comprehensive education among adolescents, as well as proactive engagement with the two primary influencers in their lives - parents and educators. We must take immediate action to bridge this information gap and educate our youth about the risks involved." 

Only 39% of the respondents confirmed receiving information from parents, educators, family members, or media sources about the need to avoid vaping and similar products. Astonishingly, 61% of the adolescents stated that they had never heard anything against vaping or similar electronic devices, not even from their parents. 

Dr. Rajesh Gupta, Additional Director Pulmonology & Critical Care - Fortis Healthcare Noida commenting on the survey said, “High vulnerability of India's youth to the allure of electronic devices that deliver addictive substances, despite us living in an information age, is a matter of great concern. When indulging in vaping, children inhale a range of harmful substances, including nicotine, flavourings, ultrafine particles and chemicals that can cause serious lung disease. The 2019 outbreak of e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury (EVALI) in the US resulted in thousands of hospitalizations among teenagers and young adults, leading to long-lasting lung damage and pulmonary dysfunction for many survivors. It is therefore imperative to actively disseminate accurate information about the genuine risks associated with vaping, dispelling any misleading notions."

 

 

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Updated: 27 Jul 2023, 07:49 PM IST
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