Ban on E-Cigarettes in India – Cabinet Approves Ordinance

Why in News?
Manufacture, sale and advertisement of e-cigarettes have been made a cognizable offence.

Details

  • The Union Cabinet approved a ban on e-cigarettes citing the need to take early action to protect public health.
  • Upon promulgation of the said ordinance, any production, manufacturing, import, export, transport, sale, distribution or advertisement shall be a cognizable offence punishable with imprisonment upto one year or fine upto Rs 1 lakh, or both for the for the first offence; and imprisonment upto three years and a fine upto Rs 5 lakh for subsequent offence.
  • Storing of e-cigarettes will also punishable with imprisonment upto 6 months or a fine up to Rs 50,000 or both.
  • As per a release issued by the Centre, owners of existing stocks of e-cigarettes on the date of commencement of the ordinance will have to suo moto declare and deposit these with the nearest police station.
  • According to government data, over 460 e-cigarette brands are available in India, with various configurations of nicotine delivery and in over 7,700 flavors.
  • Shares of cigarette makers surged as e-cigarettes have become popular as a smoking cessation aid as well as a lifestyle choice.

What is E-Cigarette?
An electronic cigarette or e-cigarette is a handheld battery-powered vaporizer that simulates smoking and provides some of the behavioral aspects of smoking, including the hand-to-mouth action of smoking, but without burning tobacco. Using an e-cigarette is known as “vaping” and the user is referred to as a “vaper.”

These are not licensed in India and are often marketed as products that are less harmful than cigarettes and which can help smokers quit.

Effects of E-Cigarettes
The health ministry says chemicals used in e-cigarettes as solvents are hazardous and could be fatal. Available scientific evidence indicated that e-cigarettes and similar technologies that encourage tobacco are hazardous for an active as well as passive user. Pure nicotine, the main ingredient of e-cigarettes, and its chemical derivatives in extracted chemical form are highly addictive and poisonous and have a potential to cause death even in small quantities.

Although the long-term impact of vaping is unclear, e-cigarettes have been linked to six deaths due to lung diseases in the US, sparking demands for its ban. E-cigarette makers have also been criticized for targeting young people with flavored products and canny marketing.



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