NEW DELHI :
Union health minister Harsh Vardhan on Friday introduced a bill in the Lok Sabha that seeks to prohibit the production, manufacture, import, export, transport, sale, distribution, storage and advertisement of electronic cigarettes.
Vardhan said the Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Transport, Sale, Distribution, Storage and Advertisement) Bill, 2019, is aimed at protecting people from the harmful effects of e-cigarettes.
E-cigarettes are battery-operated devices that produce aerosol by heating a solution containing nicotine. These include all forms of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), Heat Not Burn Products, e-hookah and the likes. Harsh Vardhan said 30 countries have banned e-cigarettes, while 98 have regulatory mechanisms in place for the same.
About 18 states and two Union territories in India--i.e. Gujarat, Punjab, Karnataka, Haryana, Mizoram, Kerala, Jammu & Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, Puducherry, Rajasthan, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Odisha--have already banned the use and sale of e-cigarettes, vape pens and e-hookah over health concerns.
Use of ENDS or e-cigarettes has documented adverse effect on humans, which include DNA damage, carcinogenic, cellular, molecular and immunological toxicity, respiratory, cardiovascular and neurological disorders. These also have an adverse effect on fetal development and pregnancy, according to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
Home ministry through an ordinance on Wednesday allowed law enforcement agencies to search premises for e-cigarettes and vaping devices without a warrant. Vaping organisations, harm reduction advocates and some medical professionals are opposing the Bill and calling for regulation instead of complete ban.
In September, the Union cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved the Promulgation of the Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (production, manufacture, import, export, transport, sale, distribution, storage and advertisement) Ordinance, 2019.