15 websites have been found promoting and selling e-cigarettes I Representational image: iStock.

Study finds majority of teenage students ignorant of vaping, e-cigarette ban

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A study has found that 96 per cent of students in the age group of 14–17 years do not know that vapes and similar electronic devices are banned in India, while 89 per cent of them are unaware of their harmful effects. The survey findings come amid the Union Health Ministry sending notices to 15 websites selling e-cigarettes, which are banned in India, directing them to stop advertisement and sale of the products.

The study titled “Ideas for an Addiction-Free India” was conducted by the Think Change Forum (TCF), an independent think tank, which recently conducted the survey covering 1,007 students in public schools in Delhi, Gurugram, Noida, Mumbai, Pune and Bengaluru.

The survey finds that an overwhelming majority of 96 per cent of the children surveyed were not aware that vaping and similar electronic devices are banned in India. A staggering 89 per cent of children in the age group of 14–17 years in grades 9–12 are unaware of the harmful effects associated with vaping and similar electronic devices.

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Among those who were not aware of the harmful effects of vaping, 52 per cent perceived vaping as “completely harmless” and viewed it as a cool and fashionable activity. Another 37 per cent considered it “moderately harmful” but lacked understanding about the nature of the harm. Only 11 per cent of the children correctly identified vaping and other electronic devices as harmful, the study found.

Speaking about the survey results, Sushant Kalra, parenting coach and TEDx speaker said, “It is deeply troubling to see such a high percentage of children unaware of the harmful effects of vaping. This ignorance makes children in the age groups of 14 to 17 years highly prone to taking up vaping or other types of electronic device delivering addictive substances. Glamourisation and normalisation of such habits among children have thrown a blanket of ignorance over the harmful effects of vaping.” He added, “We must take immediate action to bridge this information gap and educate our youth about the risks involved.”

Also readWhat ban? E-cigarettes, vapes freely available for Mumbai smokers

Only 39 per cent of the respondents confirmed receiving information from parents, educators, family members, or media sources about the need to avoid vaping and similar products, the study finds.

Surprisingly, 61 per cent of the adolescents stated that they had never heard anything against vaping or similar electronic devices, not even from their parents. Dr Rajesh Gupta, additional director pulmonology and critical care at Fortis Healthcare Noida said, “High vulnerability of India’s youth to the allure of electronic devices that deliver addictive substances, despite us living in an information age, is a matter of great concern.”

When indulging in vaping, children inhale a range of harmful substances, including nicotine, flavourings, ultrafine particles and chemicals that can cause serious lung disease.

(With agency inputs)

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