Karnataka bans e-cigarettes2 min read . Updated: 15 Jun 2016, 09:39 PM IST
The decision was taken after a study by the state health department showed that e-cigarettes encourage the younger generation to use conventional cigarettes
Bengaluru: The Karnataka government on Wednesday banned the production and sale of electronic cigarettes, small battery-operated devices that vaporize liquid nicotine to provide the same experience as smoking tobacco.
The decision was taken after a study by the state health department and experts showed that e-cigarettes encourage the younger generation to use conventional cigarettes, state health minister U.T. Khader said over the phone.
Laws permit use of two milligrams of nicotine, that too only for chewable chocolates, to help with de-addiction, and e-cigarette manufacturers misuse this clause for their sale, the minister said.
This has led to a situation where even pharmacies in the state are selling e-cigarettes, he said. “We can’t sit down and watch this when our study shows it isn’t helping people to quit smoking," said Khader.
The ban — invoking sections of Drugs and Cosmetics Act and Food Safety Act — also orders the suspension of all kinds of promotion of e-cigarettes, including online promotion through websites.
E-cigarettes can’t be seen as a treatment even though they are promoted on such grounds, said Dr Upendra Bhojani, a faculty member at the Institute of Public Health.
“They do deliver nicotine which is a highly addictive substance, but yet, they are highly unregulated in India. So, the ban is good," said Bhojani.
Even though there are no laws regulating e-cigarettes in India as of now, states such as Punjab, Haryana and Maharashtra and the Union territory of Chandigarh have banned the production and sale of e-cigarettes, according to news reports.
The World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), a global treaty for tobacco control to which India is a signatory, has also said that e-cigarettes are not a healthier option, as per an article in The Hindu newspaper on 8 May.
What is an e-cigarette?
According to the Indian Medical Association, it is a type of electronic nicotine delivery system.
Battery operated device that heats a liquid to produce vapour to inhale.
The main components of the liquid vaporized are nicotine, propylene glycol or glycerol, and flavourings.
Nicotine content ranges from none (nicotine-free) up to 36 mg/mL.
Metals such as tin, lead, nickel, and chromium have been found in e-cigarette liquids and vapour.
E-cigarettes are banned in some countries (including Brazil, Singapore, Canada and Uruguay)
In May, the US Food and Drug Administration for the first time acted upon e-cigarettes in an attempt to control to the e-cigarette industry which is a $5.2 billion market in the US (Source: Bloomberg)