Union Cabinet, on Wednesday, approved an e-cigarette ban in a bid to curb vaping in the country. This comes in line with the ban on e-cigarettes imposed in New York recently as e-cigarettes are facing backlash worldwide. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman made the announcement, explaining the adverse effects of e-cigarettes and how the youth of the country is getting drawn to them. She condemned the use of e-cigarettes as “style statement” and as tools for “looking cool” by the youth.
As per a draft of the ordinance, the ban will be on production, manufacturing, import/export, transport, sale, distribution, storage and advertising of e-cigarettes. The first offence will be punishable with a jail term up to 1 year or a fine up to Rs. 1 lakh or both. Repeat offenders will be penalised with a jail term up to 3 years and fine up to Rs. 5 lakhs. The storage of e-cigarettes will be punishable with a jail term of 6 months or a fine up to Rs. 50,000.
The ban dashes the expansion plans of various international e-cigarette companies like Juul Labs and Philip Morris International who were about to launch their brands in India. Stocks of cigarette companies like ITC Ltd. immediately began soaring after the announcement.
This ban is one of the many decisions the NDA Government had planned to implement in its first 100 days of governance after the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Other than e-cigarettes, the government also intends to ban hukkah and other vaping devices.
The ban of e-cigarettes comes as a relief to India that is quickly turning into a gas chamber. The ban co-ordinates with PM Narendra Modi’s Fit India Movement which he launched in August 2019. More than 10 crore adults in India smoke which is the second-most in the world. Close to 9 Lakh people die each year in the country from smoking.