The Union Cabinet has approved a ban on e-cigarettes, citing the need to take early action to protect public health.

  • The government will immediately pass an ordinance, subject to the approval of the President, and the matter will be taken up in the next Parliament session.
  • Once the ban comes into force, any production, manufacturing, import, export, transport, sale (including online sale), distribution or advertisement (including online advertisement) of e-cigarettes shall be a cognisable offence punishable with imprisonment of up to one year, or fine up to ₹1 lakh, or both for the first offence.
  • For any subsequent offense, the punishment will be imprisonment of up to three years and fine up to ₹5 lakh.
  • Storage of electronic-cigarettes shall also be punishable with imprisonment of up to 6 months or a fine up to ₹50,000 or both.
What is an e-Cigarette? Cabinet Approves Ban on E-Cigarette ●     E-cigarettes are the most common form of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS). ●        The E-cigarette does not use tobacco leaves but vaporize a solution using a battery which is inhaled by the user. ●        The E-liquids usually contain propylene glycol, glycerin, nicotine, flavorings, additives, and differing amounts of contaminants. Cabinet Approves Ban on E-Cigarette ●        E-cigarettes do not contain all of the harmful chemicals associated with smoking tobacco cigarettes, such as carbon monoxide and tar. ●        Manufacturers claim that the e-cigarette is a healthier alternative to tobacco cigarettes, which cause millions of deaths every year. ●     Some e-cigarettes are designed to resemble regular cigarettes, while others look more like cigars, pipes, pens and even USB flash drives. ●        Researchers have classified e-cigarettes as first, second or third-generation devices. ●        A first-generation e-cigarette is disposable and resembles a cigarette in appearance. ●        A second generation e-cigarette is rechargeable and larger than the first generation. ●        A third-generation e-cigarette is refillable and do not resemble a combustible cigarette. They have very large and sometimes customizable batteries.
Reasons behind the ban Cabinet Approves Ban on E-Cigarette
  • Once nicotine is used in the solution of an e-cigarette, the difference between it and a conventional cigarette ends.
  • Although nicotine itself is not a carcinogen, it may function as a tumor promoter and can also lead to
  • Envisioned as a tool to combat tobacco addiction, electronic cigarettes, and other vaping products have become a major problem and increase the risk of children adopting them.
  • Indian Council of Medical Research in a white paper stated that the uses of ENDS, or e-cigarettes, have documented adverse effects which include DNA damage; carcinogenesis (initiation of cancer formation); cellular, molecular and immunological toxicity; respiratory, cardiovascular and neurological disorders.
  • It also impacts fetal development and pregnancy, according to ICMR, which had recommended a “complete prohibition” of these products.
  • These products have neither been assessed for safety in the national population nor been approved under the provisions of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940.
  • As per figures submitted to Parliament this year, e-cigarettes and accessories valued at about $1,91,780 were imported to India between 2016 and 2019.
  • Prior to this announcement, 16 states and one Union territory had already banned e-cigarettes. These include Punjab, Karnataka, Mizoram, Kerala, Jammu & Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, Puducherry, Rajasthan, Meghalaya, Odisha, and Nagaland.
Reactions against the ban
  • E-cigarettes promoting trade bodies, users and other stakeholders opposed the government's move to ban the "alternative" smoking device through the ordinance route, alleging it to be a "draconian" step taken in haste to protect the conventional cigarette industry.
  • Association of Vapers India (AVI), an organization representing e-cigarette users, also alleged that it is a black day for the 11 crore smokers in India who have been deprived of safer options.
  Stand of other countries
  • US: Has the highest population of smokeless tobacco and vape-product users. The use of e-cigarettes, has resulted so far in seven confirmed deaths in the U.S. New York recently banned the sale of flavoured e-cigarettes.
  • UK: Sales of ENDS products like vapes are legal. Introduced regulations for e-cigarette firms in 2016.
  • China: Houses a third of the world’s smokers. Announced in July 2019 that it plans to regulate e-cigarettes to strengthen the supervision of these products.
  • France: Allows the sale of e-cigarettes as either medicines or consumer products, but those making health claims related to these products need marketing authorization under the standard drug licensing process.
  • Germany: Classifies nicotine-containing e-cigarettes as tobacco-related products and regulates it under the country’s 2016 law on Implementation of the Tobacco Products Directive and Related Products.
  • Japan: non-nicotine e-cigarettes currently not regulated, but nicotine-containing e-cigarettes are classified as medicinal products and regulated under Japan’s pharmaceutical affairs law.
Way forward
  • In view of the challenges involved in implementing tobacco control laws, rampant tobacco industry interference, a large proportion of vulnerable youth population, negligible support available for tobacco cessation, ban on ENDS is a plausible and cost-effective approach subject to effective implementation and monitoring. Read More Articles: Eat Right India movement Smoking E-Cigarettes Is More Injurious To Health