The government is looking to ban e-cigarettes in India on the grounds that they are "drugs". The health ministry decided to ban nicotine inhalers, also known as electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) after identifying their harmful effects. The government is likely to issue a notification soon.
The proposal to ban battery-operated products is part of the first 100 days agenda of the Modi government.
E-cigarettes have been marketed as a product that can help smokers quit and have entered India illegally as they are unlicensed products. They have also become quite popular within the smoker community. These devices do not burn tobacco leaves but turn liquid nicotine solution into vapours with the help of a heating agent.
Along with a ban on its manufacture, the health ministry also wants to put a stop on its import and sale, as mentioned in a Livemint report.
According to government data, more than 460 brands of the e-cigarette are available in India. Different brand has a different nicotine delivery configuration and over 7,700 flavours.
However, since the product cannot be banned under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, the government found itself in quite a fix. After much deliberation, experts opined that e-cigarettes and similar products would fall under the definition of drug under Section 3(B) of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 (DCA). That makes e-cigarettes eligible for ban under Section 26(A) of DCA.
"ENDS, including e-cigarettes, heat-not burn devices, vape, e-sheesha, e-nicotine, flavoured hookah, and similar products, are used as a tobacco (especially smoking forms such as cigarettes) cessation product, and functions for nicotine delivery for reasons, including nicotine de-addiction. Hence, these devices and products fall under the definition of "drug" in the Drugs and Cosmetics Act," read the minutes of the meeting as mentioned in the daily.
Currently ENDS, or e-cigarettes are considered unapproved drug under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act and Rule, 1945, by the governments of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh union territory.