MUMBAI, May 29 (Xinhua) -- Around 80 percent of e-cigarette users in India had not used any tobacco product previously, making e-cigarettes a potential gateway to tobacco consumption, according to a study released by a Non-Government Organization (NGO) Wednesday.
The study has prompted Salaam Bombay Foundation to demand a blanket ban on e-cigarettes and other vaping products ahead of World No Tobacco Day on Friday, attributing these as pathways to tobacco addiction.
Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), more commonly known as e-cigarettes or 'vapes' has gained popularity in India in recent years, but doctors claim that these items pose significant health risks to users that are similar to conventional cigarettes.
"E-cigarettes have been targeting our youth with their colors and flavors that entice them and pull them towards addiction to tobacco," said Tshering Bhutia, vice president of Projects Preventive Health & Research of the foundation.
Banning these vaping products represents one way to keep children away from future tobacco consumption, he said.
The study quotes a 12-year-old young boy from a city school stating that children initially use e-cigarettes for fun and later start using actual cigarettes.
Five Indian states -- Punjab, Karnataka, Jammu and Kashmir, Bihar and Mizoram -- have already announced a blanket ban on "vaping".
In India, industry trends show the e-cigarette market will grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 34 percent, up from 58.8 million U.S. dollars in 2017 to 106.1 million U.S. dollars in 2019, the study said quoting global data.