Published: 20th September 2019
Dear Indian government, your ban on e-cigarettes will be the death of me. Thank you
The government banned e-cigarettes on September 18 and said that it was done to deter people, mostly millennials, from getting hooked to a new addiction
It's been a decade since I lit my first cigarette and I have been trying to quit for the most part of the last three years. I tried chewing gums, nicotine gums and patches and apps that promised to help me quit. I even tried the government helpline number that comes on screen after Akshay Kumar's gyaan on sanitary pads and smoking — I always thought that number was used to recruit people to act in the Mukesh videos.
But then I met e-cigarettes. Gave me nicotine, I could smoke it but it was all water vapour — no tar. I had stopped smoking cigarettes, except for now and then at parties. I was convinced that this is the way to quit. But before I could, the government banned it. It is not a matter of nipping the addiction bud as soon as possible like the ministers would have you believe. Then why not ban tobacco and cigarettes as well? Why just stop at creepy advertisements on what it could do to you? Why not ban it entirely?
E-cigarettes had helped me get over the constant breathlessness that had become a part of my life since I started smoking. I could play a full game of tennis without gasping for breath or feeling like I would just die after nine years. I was coming out of the fear that I will end up like Mukesh and people would just cringe when they showed my face at movie halls to keep people from smoking. But it lasted only for eight sweet months. I have been dreading this day since the talks of banning e-cigarettes had come up. I knew they won't understand.
I was so close to quitting. Yet so far.
Thank you India. It's back to the cigarette shop for me.
(Pranav Grover — name changed — is a young lawyer who took up e-cigarettes to quit smoking)