Indian vapers will take part in a series of online protests to mark one year since the introduction of a nationwide vape ban.
The Association of Vapers India (AVI) will lead the protest and rally on September 18.
The virtual rally will include former smokers, vapers and their family members alongside health and legal experts from around the world.
The protest will take place simultaneously in cities including Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Kolkata.
AVI director, Samrat Chowdhery, said:
“We are bringing vapers together to raise our objection against the draconian ban by the government on September 18 last year.
“Due to this arbitrary decision, efforts taken to promote harm reduction to reduce India’s tobacco health burden have been wasted.
“In our country, where nearly a million people die of smoking every year, it is important to promote risk reduction tools and sensitise people about them.”
Chowdhery argued that the ban was not protecting young people as intended.
The protest organiser said that the black market puts teens at a greater risk which regulation could help mitigate.
He also noted that bans had also been ineffective in Mexico, Thailand and Brazil.
The AVI has written an open letter to all members of parliament stating 10 reasons why the ban has failed.
The organisation said that the ban was actually perpetuating smoking and smokers needed more quit options.
“The ban has forced many vapers, especially women who had successfully made the switch to a less harmful alternative, back into smoking as they are unwilling to take the continued risk of purchasing through the black market.
“Perpetuating smoking in this way, which kills over 10 lakh [1 million] Indians every year, further jeopardises the wellbeing of our country.
“Those who continue to buy black market products are not assured of quality and safety, which too can have serious negative consequences.”
Vapers are being encouraged to take part by accessing the online rally, downloading posters and also using hashtags, #EndVapeBan and #BanFail on social media.