An e-cigarette is a battery-operated device that emits vapourized nicotine. Unlike regular cigarettes, an e-cigarette (or “vape-pen”, or “vape”) does not burn any tobacco in its use, but rather heats a flavoured liquid that contains nicotine to produce vapour.

Why was it banned?: While the e-cigarette is looked at as a good alternative for smokers wishing to stop, it may pose a dangerous health risk to those who were not previously habitual smokers — such as adolescents and teens, a demographic that has been increasingly adopting the trend. The rapid rise of “youth vaping”, with about 4.9 million teens in the United States being users of e-cigarettes in 2018, is the primary driving force behind the ban.

Health risks: Nicotine, the main chemical in the liquid aerosol, is proven to be highly addictive and damaging to the adolescent brain, and the flavouring and solvents in the aerosol are suggested to be harmful. E-cigarettes also contain dicetyl, a chemical that can result in a severe and irreversible lung disease, “popcorn lung”. The risk of second hand smoking is also present with the vape, with the vapours emissions being carcinogenic.

What critics say: Backlash against the ban came from primarily small business owners who sold e-cigarettes and Juul Labs, a San Fransisco- based company that commands 50% of the e-cigarette market in the United States. The ban has been accused of being short-sighted, as critics claim that smokers will go back to using traditional cigarettes, eliminating any progress they made with the e-cigarette. Cigarette-attributed deaths numbered at 40,000 people in California, but they remain untouched by the ban, argued Juul spokesperson, Ted Kwong.

— Compiled by Arundhati Srinath, intern at Gulf News