All India Agarbathi Manufacturers’ Association has refuted report of Agarbatti smoke being harmful than cigarette smoke. Citing a Chinese and American reports, many news organisations have run a story stating that Agarbatti smoke is more harmful than cigarette smoke and may cause cancer. The report has claimed that as per a 2015 Chinese study, when agarbattis are lit, the smoke that comes out has tiny particles which disperse in the air and these fragrant sticks emit toxic particles which can harm one’s body at a cellular level. The report suggested that once a person breathe in the smoke coming from agarbattis, it gets trapped in the lungs, which can lead to an inflammatory reaction. Since the particles contain as many as 64 compounds, it can cause irritation in the respiratory passage.
Contrary to this report, Sarath Babu, President of All India Agarbathi Manufacturers’ Association said that the article published based on Chinese report is misleading. “The article deliberates on the ill-effects of burning agarbathies regularly; however, what is missing is a scientific basis for this statement. The research is based purportedly on a research conducted by the Chinese and American organizations. The study is funded by American tobacco companies, and this leaves us to believe that they want to project that agarbathies are more dangerous than cigarettes, thus showing themselves in a better light.”
Babu said that this is not the first time that the tobacco industry has tried to redeem itself. For instance, tobacco companies have been funding research into infertility in a bid to counter widespread evidence that smoking drastically undermines the chances of conceiving. While there are innumerable studies and scientific studies that proves, without doubt, the harmful effects of cigarettes, this study is done by just one Chinese company and its results have not been replicated and verified by other credible third-party studies. There is absolutely no scientific basis to give credibility to this report. The lack of replication in the results leads to the understanding that this report is just a hypothesis and is not a valid theory.
“This study purportedly tries to act as a surrogate means to market tobacco products in the developing countries to make up for the loss of market in the West, by pushing their products in developing countries like China and India. What has to be taken more seriously is the way the two are used. Agarbathies are lit once or twice a day and not purposely inhaled, while cigarette smoke is meant to be inhaled directly into the lungs for an extended period of time and repeated several times a day,” said Babu.