National Medical Board of India: No approval to participate in vape and heated tobacco research

India’s National Medical Commission (NMC) has recently implemented a major initiative requiring all medical professionals associated with NMC to participate in any research activities related to vapes and heated tobacco products (HTPs) is prohibited until the necessary permission is obtained from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW).

Previously, the E-Cigarette (Manufacture, Manufacture, Import, Export, Transport, Sale, Distribution, Storage and Advertising) Prohibition Act (PECA, 2019) expressly prohibited the use of vapes, heated tobacco products (HTPs), and similar devices in India. Therefore, all medical professionals associated with the NMC must comply with this prohibition and cannot participate in any research activities on e-cigarettes and HTPs without obtaining the necessary permission from the Director General of Health (Dte. GHS) and the Ministry of Family Welfare (MoHFW), “the committee said in the notice.

The decision came after Atul Goel (Director General of Health Services) wrote to NMC Chairman BN Gangadhar asking for the matter to be dealt with, raising questions about the involvement of medical professionals in research on e-cigarettes and HTPs.

“I believe the NMC and IMA can play a key role in communicating this directive to members, stressing the importance of complying with the ban on e-cigarettes and HTPs, and conducting research responsibly within the medical community,” he added.

The World Health Organization has urged governments to treat e-cigarettes the same as tobacco products and ban all flavors.