AVI is a not-for-profit organisation that defends the right of tobacco users to reduce their risk through the use of less harmful alternatives. We aim to reach 120 million smokers in India to make them aware of smoking alternatives like vaping which can help them lead healthier lives. AVI is run by consumers from different walks of life who have come together for a common cause — to ensure millions of Indians do not die or suffer ill-consequences of tobacco use. We do not take a moralistic view, but a pragmatic one.
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Smoking is the most deadly habit a person can have. It kills 8 million (80 lakh) people globally every year, making it the leading preventable cause of death in the world. Over two-thirds of people who smoke over the long term die from its use. Despite such deadly outcomes, smoking continues to be highly prevalent as the number of smokers globally has not fallen below the 1 billion mark since 2000 despite all efforts by various governments and agencies.
This indicates smoking is quite hard to quit – 95% of cold turkey quit attempts fail – and a major problem is the failure to recognise smokers need additional assistance and resources to wean off the habit. Cessation support is the most neglected aspect of tobacco control, which is mainly focused on supply side reductions and increasing taxes, efforts which are not bringing the desired results and leading to worse outcomes.
AVI is proposing measures that put smokers, their needs and what works for them at the centre of tobacco control strategies.
Are you a smoker concerned about your health, facing medical issues, or simply do not want to put your loved ones at risk? You are not alone, as majority of smokers have tried to quit. The problem is: smoking is not as easy to give up as most nonsmokers think.
Though willingness to quit is important, chances of success are greatly improved if smokers are provided with additional tools, such as gums/patches, and counselling. Studies show the most effective method is use of e-cigarettes, as they address both the behavioural and physical cravings.
The best option is to first try to quit on one’s own, if not then try gums/patches and therapy if one can afford it, and if that doesn’t work either then reduce one’s risk by switching to e-cigarettes.Read More
E-cigarettes in their current form were invented in 2004 by a Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik who lost his father to smoking. Since then over 60 million (6 crore) smokers have made the switch. E-cigarettes produce vapour instead of smoke, hence their use is called vaping. Though not entirely risk-free, they are over 95% less harmful than smoking since they eliminate combustion, which produces smoke and tar which contain over 7,000 chemicals.
For smokers unable to quit by other means, or for those who do not wish to quit the use of nicotine but want to consume it in less harmful ways, vaping provides a viable harm reduction alternative. Unlike analog cigarettes, vaping allows users to gradually reduce their nicotine intake and gradually quit its use if they so wish. Vaping is not intended for nosmokers and underage as it contains nicotine, which is addictive.Read More
Vaping being relatively new, has a lot of controversy surrounding it. Unfortunately, despite tobacco use being among the most severe issues facing humanity (tobacco is expected to kill a billion people this century), it is still viewed from the prism of morality than science. This has led to serious miscommunication of risk and benefits. Harm reduction principles are well-accepted in the fields of drugs control and communicable diseases, yet in tobacco control it is still struggling to gain a foothold despite clear benefits.
Media can play an important role in sifting moralistic views from facts embedded in scientific rigour, weighing the pros and cons of the debate dispassionately, and considering outcomes of prohibitionist policies, even if they are unintended. For instance, outright bans on lower-risk smoking alternatives do little to protect the youth as regulatory safeguards are removed, while further endangering the lives of smokers who could have otherwise switched.Read More
Over 100 nations now regulate vaping products instead of banning them. Many nations that support tobacco harm reduction (THR) measures by allowing or even encouraging the use of e-cigarettes among smokers, have seen accelerated declines in smoking prevalence. A balanced policy would be aimed at reducing population-level risk, which prevents youth use or uptake, while ensuring adult smokers can take proactive measures to safeguard their health by switching to less harmful alternatives.
Yet, the moralistic and prohibitionist strain continues, in significant part engineered by a well-entrenched system that includes foreign influence through philanthropy, and the government’s own heavy reliance on tobacco tax revenue or direct participation in the tobacco trade. This chain needs to be broken in favour of policies that further humanist goals and reduce the death and disease burden of tobacco use.Read More
After many years of trying and failing in the courts, the Indian government banned the sale, but not use, of e-cigarettes in late 2019 by passing a bill in Parliament, which was followed by a flight ban in early 2020. The decision was ostensibly made to prevent teen uptake, and to follow the guidelines laid out by the World Health Organisation.
AVI has been at the forefront of legally challenging these restrictions and bans, maintaining that India’s 12 crore smokers deserve access to less harmful ways of nicotine consumption, especially given the serious impact smoking has on individuals. AVI has also countered notions of preventing harm to youth by highlighting that bans create black markets with no safety nets, a goal which is better achieved through targeted awareness programmes and sensible regulation.Read More
April 15th, 2021
The Beauregard Parish School Board is considering introducing a new program this fall that would discourage the use of electronic cigarettes, or vapes, by educating students on the health risks, according to school officials.
At the panel’s regular session Thursday night, board members were presented with an overview of the CATCH (Coordinated Approach To Child Health) My Breath campaign that focuses on spreading information on the health and safety risks associated with the use of…
April 26th, 2021
Evidence suggests that nicotine and alcohol can each serve as a gateway drug. We determined whether prior nicotine and alcohol treatment would alter amphetamine reward. Also, we examined whether age and dopaminergic neurotransmission are important in this regard. Male and female adolescent and adult C57BL/6J mice were tested for baseline place preference. Mice then received six conditioning with saline/nicotine (0.25 mg/kg) twice daily, followed by six conditioning with saline/ethanol…
Unlike many who get into the habit of smoking in school and college, I was never a smoker during my school or college days. I picked up the habit of smoking cigarettes out of sheer boredom during a three week official visit to Germany in my late 20s, I was soon hooked and smoked an average of 40 cigarettes of Marlboro Lights a day for over 25 years and in one phase hit even 60. Having tried everything from…
January 16th, 2021
The Origins Tobacco cultivation is estimated to have begun in 5000 BC when Central Mexico began development of maize agriculture. Originally used by Native Americans for medicinal purposes and...
April 9th, 2021