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Indian officials have long recognized that public health is better served by focusing on attainable solutions rather than far-flung ideals. Yet when it comes to smoking, their faith in this principle is waning. Rather than developing a regulatory framework to ensure that e-cigarettes are available alongside their more dangerous cousins — combustible cigarettes — public health officials have simply chosen to ban them.

India is no stranger to harm reduction — the philosophy that idea that risky actions or behaviors can be made safer without requiring abstinence, which is often difficult to achieve. [...]