The Vapour Revolution: How Bottom-Up Innovation Is Saving Lives and Prospects for India
The World Health Organization and its Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) exert considerable influence on domestic policies towards tobacco in many countries. In 2014, at the 6th Conference of the Parties to the FCTC, parties left open how best to regulate vape products. Since then, the evidence of public health benefits from vape products has been mounting — as documented in this study. It is important that governments meeting for the seventh Conference of the Parties to the FCTC, which will take place in Delhi in November 2016, take on board this new evidence and support policies that do not impose unnecessary impediments to the development, promotion, sale, and use of vape products.
In the Indian context, we estimate that if ten percent of current smokers were to switch to vaping, nearly 11 million people would live longer, healthier, more productive lives. A total of 88 million life years might be saved. With savings to state government budgets from lower healthcare outlays, combined with increased income from additional consumption-related taxes, it is more than possible that the net effect on state coffers would be beneficial. However, the vape revolution in India is being held back by the emergence of statewide bans on the sale of vape products. These not only threaten directly to undermine public health improvements that would result from smokers switching, but also to impede innovations that could result in products that are more suited to the tastes and finances of Indian consumers – as well as potentially for export.