Representatives from the tobacco industry are trying to persuade the State government to revoke the ban imposed on the sale and use of e-cigarettes. Though no formal communication was acknowledged between the industry and government officials, unofficial meetings were also attempted by the industry representatives.
“There were several attempts made by us to the State government asking for appointments to discuss on reconsidering the ban on e-cigarettes,” said a spokesperson from the vapers association.
However, the officials have denied responding to the tobacco industry affiliates, stating that the State Tobacco Control Cell (STCC) has restricted the interaction between government officials and tobacco industry on any public health aspect.
The STCC has implemented the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Article 5.3 that prohibits any formal or informal communication between the State officials and tobacco industry representatives.
As per regulations, any meeting between the tobacco industry members has to be approved by the FCTC State Protocol Committee designated officer or the health commissioner after seeking prior appointment.
When contacted, public health director Dr K Kolandaisamy said that various private organisations in the tobacco industry have approached the officials on revoking the ban. Various associations have submitted documents of as big as 4000 pages on the advantages of vaping when compared to smoking.
“A compilation of various scientific studies was also sent to the State government advocating the use of e-cigarettes. However, the government officials did not respond to the applications, nor did they agree to schedule a meeting. We do not entertain any discussion or meeting with any representative from the tobacco industry as there is no logic to discuss on revoking the ban after a product is already banned in the State after consideration,” says Kolandaisamy.