Wednesday January 23, 2019

Experts Argue Over The Cessation Of E-Cigarettes In India

E-cigarettes, are a proven stop smoking tool and, while uncertainties undoubtedly remain about their long-term health impact.

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Do you believe e-cigarettes are a healthier alternative to smoking? Think again. Pixabay

Backing a recent UK Parliamentary Committee report on e-cigarettes, Indian experts have contended that despite being 95 per cent less harmful than tobacco cigarettes, they are often being overlooked as a smoking cessation tool.

According to the recent House of Commons Science and Technology Committee report, e-cigarettes should not be treated in the same way as conventional cigarettes.

Regulations should be relaxed relating to e-cigarettes’ licensing, prescribing and advertising of their health benefits. Their level of taxation and use in public places must be reconsidered, it said.

“E-cigarettes and heat-not-burn devices are estimated to be 95 per cent and 90 per cent, respectively, less damaging than cigarettes. Therefore, the Committee recommended that e-cigarettes may not be equated with tobacco products in public places,” said R.N. Sharan, Professor at North-Eastern Hill University in Shillong, Meghalaya.

“Many countries, struggling to cope with the tobacco-related national health burden and loss of productivity, should take a cue from this report and re-look at their existing policies to leverage newer technologies to reduce the tobacco-related health burden,” he added

E-cigarettes
Tobacco use is one of the main risk factors for a number of chronic diseases, including cancer, lung diseases and cardiovascular diseases, Pixabay

As per the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) 2016-17, India is home to 10 crore tobacco smokers and is the second-highest tobacco-user country (over 300 million) in the world.

Every fifth adult in India uses smokeless (chewing) tobacco and every 10th adult smokes tobacco, and the country also holds the record for having the second-lowest tobacco-quit rate, the survey has revealed.

Thus, the Committee’s report is particularly relevant to India, the experts noted.

However, some states in India, including Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Punjab, Maharashtra and Kerala, have prohibited sales of e-cigarettes, while tobacco cigarettes remain legal.

The bans are in the light of research findings by experts who concluded that they have cancer-causing properties, are highly addictive, and do not offer a safer alternative to tobacco-based smoking products.

This is a policy paradox because where countries like the UK have found reasons to adopt e-cigarette as a harm-reduction alternative, India insists upon banning them even without having much indigenous research and or debating the global evidence free from the prism of ideology, experts favouring e-cigarettes here have argued.

Many people may be vaping nicotine through e-cigarettes, smoking.

“Health professionals in India need wider options in their stash of existing approach and tools for tobacco cessation. Governments and policymakers need to consider this appropriately in the larger interest of public health,” Sharan stated.

Importantly, the UK Committee found that e-cigarettes are not a significant “gateway”, including for young non-smokers, to conventional smoking and do not pose a significant risk through second-hand inhalation.

Also Read: Smoking Habits May Harm Breastfeeding, Newborns At Risk

E-cigarettes, are a proven stop smoking tool and, while uncertainties undoubtedly remain about their long-term health impact, failing to explore the use of e-cigarettes could lead to the continued use of conventional cigarettes-which currently kill millions, the experts noted.(IANS)

Next Story

Protein Identified Enables New Drugs to Increase ‘Good Cholesterol’ Levels

Importantly, ORP2 could also be targeted to fight cancer. 

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ORP2 could offer a new strategic line of research and possibly succeed where the use of statins in this area hasn't, Yang noted.

Researchers have identified a protein, known as ORP2, responsible for transporting cholesterol inside cells that opens the way for new drugs to increase the body’s ‘good cholesterol’ levels.

ORP2 can increase the amount of cholesterol in cells, a process called cholesterol efflux. We think this pathway will be very important for the development of a drug to increase this good cholesterol, said Rob Yang, Professor from the University of New South Wales in Australia.

Until now, drugs including statins have targeted bad cholesterol (LDL) by inhibiting its synthesis in the liver in an effort to mitigate the risk of heart disease and stroke.

However, while statins are effective at lowering LDL levels, they do little to increase the levels of good cholesterol (HDL) and there is no other drug in use that can significantly boost the human body’s HDL levels.

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Researchers have identified a protein, known as ORP2, responsible for transporting cholesterol inside cells that opens the way for new drugs to increase the body’s ‘good cholesterol’ levels. . VOA

Up to 90 per cent of a cell’s cholesterol is found at the cell’s plasma membrane, said the study published in the journal Molecular Cell.

“Knowing the molecules that deliver cholesterol to the plasma membrane itself is a huge step forward. The transport of cholesterol to the plasma membrane is the key to the generation of HDL.

If such a drug could be developed, it would not replace statins, but would be used complementarily, with one drug used to reduce the bad cholesterol and the other to increase levels of the good, Yang suggested.

Also Read: Number of Students Opting for Science or Tech Are On Rise in India

Importantly, ORP2 could also be targeted to fight cancer.

Cancer, U.S.

Importantly, ORP2 could also be targeted to fight cancer.

The rampant and uncontrolled growth of cells that characterises cancer could be stopped in its tracks by reducing the amount of cholesterol produced.

ORP2 could offer a new strategic line of research and possibly succeed where the use of statins in this area hasn’t, Yang noted. (IANS)