E-Cigarettes have been banned in India on health grounds. The key decision was taken at a Union Cabinet meeting on Wednesday. This was in keeping with the key priorities set by the Modi government in the first 100 days of its second term. E-Cigarettes or electronic cigarettes are battery operated devices that emit doses of vaporized nicotine, or non-nicotine solutions, for the person to inhale. It aims to provide a similar sensation to inhaling tobacco smoke, without the smoke.
Ban on E-Cigarettes in India: What it means
In simple terms, ban on e-cigarettes in India implies that there would be no production, manufacturing, import or export, transport, sale or distribution, storage and advertising related to e-cigarettes anymore. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the government would pass an ordinance immediately subject to President's approval to give effect to the ban. The government would introduce a bill in Parliament in the winter session.
As per the terms of the ban, punishment to be meted out for the first offence by an individual would be a one-year imprisonment or a fine of Rs 1 lakh. Repeat offences could lead to a three-year imprisonment or a penalty of Rs 5 lakh or both, said Preeti Sudan, Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
Sitharaman said that currently, though no Indian company was manufacturing e-cigarettes, some 400 brands were already operating here offering the product in 150 flavours.
Who is supporting ban on E-Cigarettes:
Recently, the Federation of All India Farmer Associations (FAIFA) demanded a ban on e-cigarettes and vaping products. It said that certain parties were trying to mislead policy makers and were causing confusion with the propaganda that banning e-cigarettes and vaping products would negatively impact industry and Indian agriculture.
Tobacco farmers across India do not support these new generation products such e-cigarettes, heat-not-burn and so on, as extraction of nicotine from tobacco for products like electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) happens largely outside India, from the tobaccos grown outside the country.
The use of ENDS in India would hugely impact livelihood of the Indian tobacco farmers, FAIFA said. These farmers are already under stress due to excessive regulation and taxation.