Urging people to build a healthy India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said his government has banned e-cigarettes to prevent the youth from falling into the new way of intoxication.
In his monthly radio address to nation through 'Mann Ki Baat', PM Modi said a "myth" has been spread that e-cigarettes are harmless. He said many youth today have the misconception that like the conventional cigarette, e-cigarettes do not spread odour as fragrant chemicals are added to it. He said these chemicals are harmful and pose a health hazard.
"I urge all of you to quit the addiction to tobacco and do not harbour any misconceptions about e-cigarettes. Come, let us all build a healthy India," Modi said in his latest Mann ki Baat broadcast.
These are PM's first comment on the issue of health hazards linked to e-cigarettes after the Union Cabinet earlier this month banned its sale, production and storage through an ordinance. The ordinance will be converted into a bill in the next session of Parliament.
Referring to ban on e-cigarettes, PM said that discourses and debates will continue, the support and opposition will continue, but, if some things are checked before they proliferate, then there is a huge benefit.
" ... e-cigarette has been banned so that this new form of intoxication does not destroy our demographically young country. It does not trample the dreams of a family and waste the lives of our children. This scourge and this obnoxious habit should not become rooted in our society," he asserted.
"But the case of e-cigarettes is quite different. There is little awareness among people about e-cigarette. They are also completely unaware of its danger and for this reason sometimes e-cigarettes sneak into the house out of sheer curiosity," he warned.
Urging people to shun tobacco, the prime minister warned that e-cigarettes, which are used as a "fashion statement", are a new way of getting addicted to nicotine.
The central government on September 18 banned the production, manufacturing, import, export, sale, distribution and advertisement of e-cigarettes in India. At a media briefing, Finance Ministers Nirmala Sitharaman had said that the decision was taken in light of the impact e-cigarettes are having on youth, adding that the data derived from several US-based organisations suggested smoking e-cigarettes had become a trend among youngsters.
The government is planning to take the issue of banning e-cigarettes in India in the next session of Parliament, where it will be passed through an ordinance. The punishment for making, sale, manufacture and storage of e-cigarette is the jail term of up to three years or a fine up to Rs 5 lakh or both.
Edited by Chitranjan Kumar