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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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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”.

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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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YouTube Rolls out ‘YouTube Charts’ in India to Empower Local Artists

YouTube Charts are also available within YouTube Music, including “Top 100” most played songs and “Top 100” music videos globally and locally and “Top 30 Trending” chart

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FILE - Signage is seen inside the YouTube Space LA offices in Los Angeles, California, Oct. 21, 2015. VOA

Google-owned YouTube on Monday rolled out “YouTube Charts” in India that will showcase country-specific trending music lists, top songs, artists and music videos at one place.

Now available in 56 countries alongside the global chart, “YouTube Charts” has more than two billion global users and 265 million monthly users in India.

“We’ve heard loud and clear from Indian artists, labels and fans that they want a single source of truth to see what’s hot and popular in the world of music. I’m incredibly excited to bring YouTube charts to India,” Lyor Cohen, Global Head of Music at YouTube, said in a statement.

Over the last year, many Indian artists including Guru Randhawa, Badshah, Arijit Singh and Neha Kakkar have reached the YouTube music country charts in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada along with the global chart.

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FILE – Silhouettes are seen in front of a Youtube logo, in this picture illustration taken in Zenica, Oct. 29, 2014. VOA

“Indian artists have truly gone global. Week to week in 2019, on an average 20 per cent of the entries on the ‘Global Top Songs’ chart have featured Indian artists. Their popularity outside India is a testimony of YouTube’s massive global reach and opportunities it offers to artists,” elaborated Pawan Agarwal, Head of Music Partnerships, YouTube & Google Play, India and South Asia at YouTube.

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The YouTube Charts include trending lists, top songs, artists and music videos.

YouTube Charts are also available within YouTube Music, including “Top 100” most played songs and “Top 100” music videos globally and locally and “Top 30 Trending” chart. (IANS)