An e cigarette has been the go-to choice for smokers in India for decades.
And it’s the main reason why smoking has declined in India.
But a new survey from the Centre for Tobacco Control (CTC) has revealed that the trend is turning for the worse.
The survey shows that only 9.7 per cent of the Indian population smokes cigarettes every day, down from 12.6 per cent in 2016.
That’s not good news for people like Shikha Sharma, an 18-year-old Delhi resident.
“It’s not that people are quitting, it’s just they’re not buying them anymore,” said Sharma, a member of the Bhiwandi-based group Bhiwal Bhaiyana.
She is among the 18,000 people surveyed in the latest edition of the survey by the CTC, which tracks smoking prevalence.
It asked people to name their favourite brands of e-cigarettes and whether they have tried any of them.
The data showed that in 2015, just 8.2 per cent had tried any e-cigarette.
The rate is now 12.5 per cent.
The poll found that almost 80 per cent were not smoking regular cigarettes, while the remaining 20 per cent said they were switching to vaping.
The survey also showed that people aged 18 to 34 are the biggest group of people using e-cigs.
“We are getting more and more people, young and old, who are vaping, especially young women and students, who will probably be the next generation,” said Dr Manoj Kumar, head of the Centre on Tobacco Control at the National Institute of Public Health.
Sharma says that it’s a good thing that there is a big market for e-juices, especially as the price has gone down.
“I think the main driver behind this is that it gives us more options to enjoy the flavors,” she said.
But it’s not just the taste of the products that is appealing to the young generation.
Dr Manoj Kapoor, a professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, said that it is not just e-cig flavours that appeal to the younger generation.
“They also like the way it smells, because it is less intense than regular cigarettes,” he said.
While Sharma is convinced that e-liquid is the future, she has other reasons for wanting to quit.
“This is not for everyone.
It’s not even a good option for the elderly,” she added.
“If you have children, it could lead to a lot of problems.”
Follow the BBC’s coverage of the study from Delhi here