In a major decision, the central government has banned the production, manufacturing, import, export, sale, distribution and advertisement of e-cigarettes in India. "The decision was taken in light of the impact e-cigarettes are having on youth," said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. She said the data derived from several US-based organisations suggested smoking e-cigarettes had become a trend among youngsters. The punishment for the e-cigarette use is the jail term of up to three years or a fine up to Rs 5 lakh or both.
The FM said the use of e-cigarettes had caused a lot of damage across the world. The FM said the government hoped to take the issue of banning e-cigarettes in India in the next session of Parliament, where it will be passed through an ordinance.
"Even the middle school students have become victims of e-cigarettes," said the minister, adding that there are over 3 million regular users of e-cigarettes in the US. She added that between 2011 and 2015, there has been over 900 per cent growth in the use of e-cigarettes in the US.
In India, people don't mind trying it as a style statement, said the FM. "It was prompted initially to avoid the habit of cigarettes. But reports say that actually, many people are no longer using it to avoid cigarettes, and they do both. Some people are doing it because they think it's cool," she added.
"These e-cigarettes come in over 150 flavours, and it's become a fashion. The reason is it's odourless. However, the smoke that is exhaled by the users has a high-level of residual nicotine in it and those who passively inhale them are also affected," said the FM.
Preeti Sudan, Secretary Health and Family Welfare, said the punishment proposed for using e-cigarettes was imprisonment up to 1 year or a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh, or both for the first offence and imprisonment of three years or a fine up to Rs 5 lakh or both, for subsequent offence. "E-hookahs are also included," she added.
Edited by Manoj Sharma