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Educators stress combating misinformation on modern tobacco devices to protect children

November 15, 2023

A coalition of educators, including teachers and principals from schools nationwide, is advocating against the dissemination of misinformation concerning modern tobacco devices such as e-cigarettes and e-hookahs. Operating under the name “Teachers Against Vaping,” the group has penned a letter to Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, urging the establishment of communication programs to increase awareness about the detrimental effects of e-cigarettes.

The educators stress the importance of educating teachers, parents, and children about recent legal clarifications prohibiting the production, sale, and possession of these devices. They express deep concern that international tobacco companies, in pursuit of new markets, are spreading misleading information, portraying these modern e-cigarettes as either harmless or less harmful than traditional cigarettes.

The educators emphasize the urgent need for robust communication programs to educate stakeholders about the adverse health effects of these products, especially among schoolchildren. The letter underscores the alarming increase in e-cigarette usage among school-going children in India and calls for immediate action to address the threat posed by sleek, technology-based vaping devices and misinformation.

Principals, including Upasana Mittal and Supriti Chauhan, highlight the urgent need to protect children’s health and educational journeys from the scourge of addiction to vaping and electronic nicotine delivery devices. Despite the existing ban on e-cigarettes in India, the educators stress the troubling spread of misinformation, particularly targeting schoolchildren, necessitating urgent action to safeguard their well-being and education.

The Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes Act, enforced in 2019, banned the production, manufacture, import, export, transport, sale, distribution, storage, and advertisement of e-cigarettes in India. The educators express concern over aggressive marketing strategies by these companies, targeting India with products like vaping devices, heat-not-burn devices, and e-hookahs. They assert that schools have become a target for marketers, employing under-the-radar methods to popularize these products systematically, starting with favored options and gradually leading users to higher levels of substances while spreading misinformation.

Also read: E-cigarette vape unsafe for children

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