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Modi govt bans e-cigarette, traders in shock

ENDS includes e-cigarettes, heat-not-burn devices, vape, e-sheesha, e-nicotine flavoured hookah and other similar devices

Wednesday September 18, 2019 6:31 PM, ummid.com with inputs from IANS

E Cigarette Banned

New Delhi: Hookah bars and e-cigarettes would now be out of reach for all with the Union cabinet clearing an ordinance to ban electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).

With the promulgation of the ordinance, production, sale, distribution, import or even advertisement of ENDS would attract penalty up to Rs 5 lakh and 3-year-jail or both for repeat offence.

After the cabinet meeting, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said vaping or e-cigarettes appear cool but a lot of health concerns had been raised against them. "The decision has been taken keeping in mind health of the youth," she said citing recommendations of premier medical institutes.

The minister said reports stated that young students in the US were becoming its victim. Vaping has emerged as a major concern internationally with nearly 30 countries banning it.

The ordinance would be promulgated by Wednesday evening or Thursday. Later a Bill will be introduced in the next session of Parliament.

While admitting that conventional cigarettes are also injurious to health, the Finance Minister said awareness was being created against the use of tobacco products.

"It's a timely step," Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said.

ENDS includes e-cigarettes, heat-not-burn devices, vape, e-sheesha, e-nicotine flavoured hookah and other similar devices. E-cigarettes don't burn tobacco but heats the liquid chemicals into a vapour or steam that a person inhales. That's way it's also called vaping.

E-cigarettes are considered harmful to health, and medical institutes, like AIIMs and Tata Memorial Hospital, stated that.

E-cigarettes and other ENDS products are imported. Juul is one of the popular brands among youth. As many as 400 different brands of ENDS are imported and sold into the country.

Traders in shock

Industry body TRENDS which represents importers, distributors and marketers of ENDS, or Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems in India, termed the decision to ban e-cigarettes "ironic and erratic".

"This ban on e-cigarettes on the basis of 'selective sourcing of scientific and medical opinion' and without holding a single stakeholder meeting is nothing short of a complete murder of democratic norms," said Praveen Rikhy, Convenor, TRENDS (Trade Representatives of ENDS).

"All our representations sharing best practices from other countries - 70 developed countries have allowed regulated sale of e-cigarettes, have been completely ignored. We will now initiate a formal campaign to help MPs understand the issue, clarify misapprehensions and misinformation spread by lobby groups and support the farmer groups who see the growth of the e-cigarette sector as a global market opportunity for nicotine," Rikhy said.

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