e-Cigarette ban: First time offenders to face 1-yr jail and ₹1 lakh fine1 min read . Updated: 18 Sep 2019, 04:50 PM IST
- Subsequent offenders will face imprisonment up to three years or a fine of up to ₹5 lakh, or both, said Preeti Sudan, Secretary, Health and Family Welfare
- E-hookahs are also included under the ambit of the punishment
New Delhi: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday has given its approval to ban e-cigarettes. It effectively means that the production, manufacturing, import/export, transport, sale, distribution, storage and advertising related to e-cigarettes are banned.
Preeti Sudan, Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, spoke about the punishment that will be meted out for those caught dealing with e-cigarettes in any manner. "The punishment proposed is imprisonment up to one year or a fine of up to ₹1 lakh, or both for the first offence and imprisonment of three years or a fine up to ₹5 lakh or both, for subsequent offence. E-hookahs are also included."
Government's response comes at a time when backlash gathered pace worldwide due to health concerns about a product promoted as less harmful than smoking tobacco, AFP reported.
"Reports say that there are some who are probably getting into the habit of e-cigarettes as it seems cool. It is believed that there are more than 400 brands, none of which is manufactured yet in India. And they come in over 150 flavours," said Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman while announcing the decision.
Although few Indians vape at present, the Indian ban also cuts off a vast potential market of 1.3 billion consumers for makers of e-cigarettes, AFP reported.
E-cigarettes do not burn tobacco, but use a heating element to vaporize liquid nicotine, which the user inhales. These are not licensed in India and are often marketed as products to help smokers quit, and harmless than cigarettes. According to government data, more than 460 e-cigarette brands are available in India, with various configurations of nicotine delivery and in over 7,700 flavours, Mint reported.
Once the ordinance is issued, those holding e-cigarette stocks must declare and deposit stocks with the nearest police station.