FUND THE FIGHT FOR LEGALISATION OF VAPING IN INDIA
The current situation
In late 2019, the Indian government banned vaping in India. The ban has made sourcing of vaping products through legal route impossible, as importing is also banned. Further, while there is no ban on use and possession of vapes, there are routine reports of vapers being harassed by police in many parts of the country, often under the false claim that use is also banned. Additionally, carrying vapes, even if they are for personal use, is banned on flights.
Despite the ban, police harassment and flight restrictions however, the tobacco and nicotine use landscape is changing rapidly in India as lot more smokers have transitioned to vaping, and there is a proliferation of cheap disposables, a majority of which are fake. New lower-risk products such as nicotine pouches have also become available.
What does AVI do
Association of Vapers India (AVI) is the leading consumer advocacy organisation in this field in India, as well as globally. We represent the rights of people who vape, as well as of smokers who may wish to switch to a less harmful alternative. Formed in 2016, the organisation is run by unpaid volunteers from different professions who have come together because of their belief that vaping is a safer alternative to smoking which can help those who can’t or don’t want to completely quit nicotine use, and bring down the tobacco-related health burden of our country.
Why does AVI need funds
While no one within AVI draws salaries, we do need to pay external partners and for professional services. AVI does lot of social media outreach, with two main aims: a) to sensitise lawmakers to the harm reduction potential of vaping and other low-risk nicotine alternatives, and b) to spread awareness among the public, especially adult smokers and users of deadly smokeless tobacco. We also share resources on how to prevent teen misuse.
AVI also provides support for legal challenges to protect the rights of people who have quit smoking with the help of vaping and have seen significant health improvements. We have been involved in a number of litigations in the past, and will continue to appeal to the judicial system. One of our ongoing initiatives is to fight against the current flight ban, while also providing legal support to those being harassed for using vapes.
We routinely sensitise lawmakers and the medical community, through written and in-person engagements, on adopting harm reduction measures in tobacco control, which includes substituting smoking with lower-risk alternative such as vaping.
AVI also participates in research efforts in this field by helping scientists access information on vaping in India and understand use patterns, demographic profiles and other factors as we believe the more local research there is on this issue, the better equipped lawmakers will be in implementing pro-vaping policies. Sometimes this requires engaging external agencies for data collection and analysis.
To ensure there is global recognition and support for helping Indian smokers switch to less harmful alternatives, AVI routinely does international outreach with our members speaking at and attending conferences in various parts of the world. Sometimes this requires additional expenses.