The government on Wednesday announced a ban on e-cigarettes.
"It means the production, manufacturing, import/export, transport, sale, distribution, storage and advertising related to e-cigarettes are banned," Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said at a press conference.
Sitharaman, who had headed a Group of Ministers (GoM) on the issue, said the Cabinet decided to ban e-cigarettes and similar products as they pose a health risk to people, especially the youth.
As per the terms of the ban, punishment to be meted out for the first offence by an individual would be one-year imprisonment or a fine of Rs 1 lakh. Repeated offences could lead to three-year imprisonment or a penalty of Rs 5 lakh or both, said Preeti Sudan, Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
She said all offences such as import, export and distribution, except storing e-cigarettes and vaping products are cognizable.
The decision comes after demands from several quarters to ban Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), which includes e-cigarettes, Heat-Not-Burn devices, Vape, e-Sheesha, e-Nicotine Flavoured Hookah, and other similar devices.
E-cigarettes do not burn tobacco but heat the liquid chemicals into vapour or steam that a person inhales. This is the reason it is also called vaping. E-cigarettes are considered harmful to health.
Sitharaman said though no Indian company was manufacturing e-cigarettes currently, some 400 brands were already operating here offering the product in 150 flavours.
(With Agency Inputs)
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