Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman addressed a press briefing on Wednesday announcing a total ban on e-cigarettes in India. Addressing the press briefing, Nirmala Sitharaman announced that e-cigarettes production, manufacturing, sale, import-export, and advertising among other things will be banned in India.
"The Union Cabinet has given the approval to ban e-cigarettes. It means the production, manufacturing, import/export, transport, sale, distribution, storage and advertising related to e-cigarettes are banned," the Finance Minister said.
The Finance Minister cited health concerns of the citizens over the Cabinet's decision to ban the production and sale of e-cigarettes.
"The smoke which is exhaled by the e-cigarettes contains very high-level of residual nicotine which can badly harm the people around standing as passive smokers. To protect the health of our citizens especially youth, we took this decision immediately," Nirmala Sitharaman added.
As per a report by news agency PTI, the Health Ministry recently examined the Prohibition of E-cigarettes Ordinance, 2019, and made changes in the draft ordinance. It has been proposed that maximum imprisonment of up to one year along with a penalty of INR 1 lakh will be issued for first-time violators. Furthermore, the ministry has also recommended a maximum of up to three years of jail and a penalty of Rs 5 lakh for repeat offenders in the matter. Notably, banning alternative smoking devices like e-cigarettes, vape, and e-nicotine flavoured hookahs were among the key priorities of the first 100 days agenda of the Modi government in its second term.
The Central Drugs Standards Control Organisation (CDSCO) had also written to all state drug controllers, urging them to not allow the sale, online sale, manufacture, distribution, trade, import or advertisement of ENDS (Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems).
On Tuesday, New York announced a ban on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes. The move came after the federal health officials investigated a surge of severe breathing illnesses linked to vaping. The vote by the state Public Health and Health Planning Council means the prohibition, which covers flavored e-cigarettes and other vaping products except for menthol and tobacco flavors, goes into effect immediately. Retailers have been given two weeks to remove merchandise from store shelves.
(With agency inputs)