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India’s Move to Ban e-cigarettes Flawed, Say Cancer Experts

Borland said that e-cigarettes are an “important tool” for smokers to reduce their risk and this opportunity to improve public health will be lost if India continues to bans e-cigarettes

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Vaping, US, E-Cigarettes
FILE - A patron exhales vapor from an e-cigarette at the Henley Vaporium in New York. (Representational image). VOA

Tobacco use, particularly smoking, exacts a heavy toll in India every week but the government move to ban e-cigarettes while allowing sale of normal cigarettes does not seem justified, cancer experts said.

Addressing a press meet organised by bcbpf-The Cancer Foundation, Riccardo Polosa of the Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine at Italy’s University of Catania, Ron Borland, Professor of Psychology at the University of Melbourne, and Sameer Kaul, Senior Consultant, Surgical Oncology & Robotics at the Apollo Cancer Institute here, questioned the ban on electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) in the country.

Claiming that the Indian Council of Medical Research white paper shows “a high probability of bias”, they asked why it recommended a complete ban on e-cigarettes for the “greater interest of protecting public health” but not on traditional cigarettes.

Policy-making should be based on scientifically sound evidence and where such evidence is in nascent stages, efforts must be focused on speeding up or encouraging research, they said. Kaul announced a nation-wide, cross sectional, randomized study on Indian subjects, led by bcbpf-The Cancer Foundation, of which he is the founder President.

Saying it was important to “document the well-known damaging effects of smoking against the risks and harm reduction potential of e-cigarettes”, he said that the ban of e-cigarettes that have “proven social, economic and health benefits over combustible cigarettes, is not justified”.

e-cigarette, cigarettes
Customers puff on e-cigarettes at the Henley Vaporium in New York City. VOA

“ENDS present an excellent opportunity for India to accelerate a decline in smoking rates and adult smokers who want to quit but may be unable to, have the right to be able to access harm reduction alternatives such as ENDS,” he added.

The three experts recently co-authored and published a scientific evidence based critical appraisal of the ICMR white paper, in the Indian Journal of Clinical Practice.

Polosa said that the ICMR paper “presented an uncritical evaluation of evidence gathered from poor quality studies”, and they sought to make “a detailed, critical appraisal of all existing evidence on ENDS” in a bid to “convince ICMR to reconsider their recommendation for a complete prohibition of the category”.

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He said many reputed scientific institutes now acknowledge that ENDS pose significantly less health risk compared to traditional cigarettes or bidis. As many as 69 countries, like the UK and Canada, have regulated ENDS while the UAE has reversed its ban.

Borland said that e-cigarettes are an “important tool” for smokers to reduce their risk and this opportunity to improve public health will be lost if India continues to bans e-cigarettes. (IANS)

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84% Indians Hope to Retain Their Jobs Despite Automation: WEF

Indians see automation, but hopeful of keeping jobs

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Indians jobs
Although majority of Indians think their jobs would be automated in the next 10 years, 84 per cent hope to retain their jobs. (Representational Image) Pixabay

Although majority of Indians think their jobs would be automated in the next 10 years, 84 per cent hope to retain their jobs, supported by their skills, according to a report by World Economic Forum (WEF) and Ipsos.

India tops the list in terms of expectation of jobs automation, as around 71 per cent respondents expect their jobs to be automated. Saudi Arabia comes second with 56 per cent respondents expecting jobs getting automated, and in China 55 per cent respondents feel the same.

“Interestingly, 84 per cent of urban Indians polled are confident of keeping their jobs, using the skills they possess. The survey also shows across all markets, Indians are most confident, followed by the Netherlands (83 per cent) and the US (82 per cent),” the report said.

Indians jobs
Indians realise while automation is likely they know it will act as an enabler to improve efficiencies in deliverability. Pixabay

The markets least confident of holding onto their jobs in the face of automation, include Japan (23 per cent), South Korea (33 per cent) and Russia (50 per cent).

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Commenting on the survey, Parijat Chakraborty of Ipsos India said, “Indian job market is hierarchy driven, promotions are skills and performance-led. Indians realise while automation is likely they know it will act as an enabler to improve efficiencies in deliverability; human intellect, skill-sets and capital will still be needed to get the job done.” (IANS)