Home / Politics / News /  Bill to ban e-cigarettes introduced in Rajya Sabha, to be taken up again on Friday

NEW DELHI : Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday introduced a bill to ban e-cigarettes in the Rajya Sabha.

The Lok Sabha on Wednesday has already passed the Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Transport, Sale, Distribution, Storage, and Advertisement) Bill, 2019.

While introducing the Bill in Rajya Sabha, Harsh Vardhan said that the government had issued an ordinance banning e-cigarettes on September 18 following reports of an increasing number of lung diseases caused by the use of e-cigarettes in the United States and a report on an international e-cigarette company, Juul, coming in India in December.

The health minister also said that several other big tobacco firms had announced plans to enter India. That’s why the government wanted to curb this.

“They had made full preparations and there was an announced entry of a company Juul of the a leading global manufacturers of e-cigarettes from December 2019 and it was probably one of the most imminent concerns that worried all of us," Harsh Vardhan said.

During the discussion, Congress member M.V. Rajeev Gowda argued that the government can consider regulating the e-cigarettes instead of banning them. Gowda said that these are less harmful than cigarettes and could help smokers quit the habit. The government regulate the sale by making them available at pharmacies on prescription, Gowda said.

A statutory resolution was moved by opposition members to oppose the ordinance, with K K Ragesh (CPI-M) stating that he was not against banning e-cigarette but argued over why the government was bringing it through an ordinance route.

The health minister told Rajya Sabha that 16 states and Union Territories and 42 countries have already banned e-cigarettes.

“As e-cigarettes have a small consumer base we strongly feel that ban is the most effective measure and the need of the hour," Harsh Vardhan said.

According to the Bill that seeks to replace an ordinance issued on September 18, any person who contravenes these provisions will be punishable with imprisonment of up to one year, or a fine of up to one lakh rupees, or both. For any subsequent offence, imprisonment of up to three years along with a fine of up to five lakh rupees. The proposed legislation prohibits to use any place for the storage of any stock of e-cigarettes and a person storing stock of e-cigarettes, will be punishable with an imprisonment of up to six months, or a fine of up to 50,000, or both.

The discussion was discontinued and will be again taken up on Friday.

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