Health Ministry Proposes Ban on E-Cigarettes
The Health Ministry has said that e-cigarettes adversely impact public health and should be banned.
E-cigarettes coming to India are hot button issue right now. On 31 May, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) called for a total ban on them, and it seems that the health ministry has followed suit.
According to a report by Reuters, which cited exclusive access to ministry documents, the health ministry has proposed that “the government issue an executive order” on the production and import of e-cigarettes.
The Ministry also proposed a fine on first-time offenders of Rs. 100,000 and up to one-year of jail time. Repeat offenders might face up to three years of jail and a penalty of Rs. 500,000 .
One of the core reasons this was done was to ensure it does not become an epidemic among the youth, as teenagers across the globe are slowly becoming addicted at an early age.
“There is evidence that these products are a gateway to tobacco products and induce adolescents and young adults to nicotine use leading to addiction.”The health ministry said in the document, reported Reuters.
The federal cabinet is set to consider the internal note by the Health Ministry, according to Reuters. Of course, there is no official confirmation of this as yet, and such orders are issue when a parliament is not in session.
Pro e-cigarette lobbies and concerned experts have challenged this, objecting to the ban.
This move would also hinder the plans of foreign e-cigarette manufacturers and retailers, such as US-based JUUL Labs Inc and Philip Morris, which were planning to set up shop in India.
The Health Ministry justified the ban saying that e-cigarettes could also be used to smoke other drugs besides nicotine and would promote “dual-use” with regular cigarettes.
“These devices will harm public health,” the Ministry of Health said.
(With inputs from Reuters)
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