Wednesday April 17, 2024


July 04, 2022

Recently, Salman Sufi, head of the Prime Minister’s Reforms Strategic Unit, told ‘BBC’ that the coalition government is collecting data on the use of electronic cigarettes. Based on this data, he added, it would decide whether to ban or regularize their use. Although one welcomes the government’s initiative on the use of e-cigarettes, instead of merely collecting data, it would be much better if the coalition government takes stock of the evidence-based research on tobacco harm reduction. A case in point is the United Kingdom. Terming e-cigarettes significantly less harmful than smoking tobacco, the UK’s National Health Services says they are not risk free. Since May 2016, the UK has regulated the use of e-cigarettes, making it illegal to sell e-cigarettes to, or buy them for, under 18s. The NHS adds: “If you use e-cigarettes as a complete replacement for smoking, you’ll almost certainly benefit your health”.

Currently in Pakistan, the use of e-cigarettes is limited to the well-off, mainly because of its prices as all brands are imported. There is no regulatory framework regarding their use. Rejection is an easy option, however, it would be much better if Pakistan sensibly regulates the use of tobacco alternatives, and keeps a close eye on the long-term health effects of the use of e-cigarettes.

Junaid Ali Khan