Union Cabinet on Wednesday gave an approval to ban the production, manufacturing, import or export, transport, sale, distribution, storage and advertising related to e-cigarettes or Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS).
Since it is widely viewed as a "style statement" and not as a tobacco cessation product, its use among the younger generation had increased over a period. E-cigarettes are considered to have adverse health consequences.
Here are 10 facts you need to know about the ban:
1. The ban is on the production, manufacturing, import or export, transport, sale, distribution, storage and advertising related to e-cigarettes. It implies that users cannot legally buy refills for their vapes.
2. ENDS would be banned in all forms, including e-hookahs and vapes. Traditional cigarettes are legal.
3. The draft ordinance, pushed by the Health Ministry, for the Prohibition of E-cigarettes Ordinance 2019 was examined by a group of ministers, according to the Prime Minister's directions. The Act is to be produced at the Parliament during the November session.
4. As per the ordinance, any violation will constitute a cognizable offence, which means, a police officer can arrest without a warrant, in accordance with the First Schedule of the Constitution of India or under any other law enacted at the given point of time.
5. Single possession will not be prosecuted, but bulk storage will be punishable with either imprisonment of up to six months or a fine up to Rs 50,000 or both.
6. The punishment for violation will be imprisonment up to one year or a fine up to Rs 1 lakh or both for the first time offenders. Subsequent offences will attract imprisonment up to three years and a fine up to Rs 5 lakh.
7. The government has not estimated the market size of e-cigarettes, but it has been assessed to be in the range of about Rs 200-300 crore, in the country. E-cigarette company, Juul Labs, after having controlled almost 75% of the US market at the end of 2018, planned to expand its market in India. It was followed by another e-cigarette company Philip Morris International (PM.N).
8. India has the second-largest smokers' population, next to China, with about 106 million adult smokers and around 9,00,000 recorded deaths every year due to tobacco-related illnesses.
9. As Finance Minister Nirmala Sithraman pointed out, there are almost 400 brands of e-cigarettes including Juul and Philip Morris International with over 150 flavours. None of them are manufactured within the country.
10. New York was the first state in the USA to ban the sale of flavoured electronic cigarette, otherwise known as e-cigarette, products. The ban was first proposed in Michigan, but the law is yet to be enacted. San Francisco, the home of market leader Juul Labs, became the first American city to ban e-cigarettes in June 2018.