President of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind approved the Promulgation of the Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (production, manufacture, import, export, transport, sale, distribution, storage and advertisement) Ordinance, 2019 after the cabinet approved it on September 18, 2019.
- Electronic Cigarettes/ e-Cigarettes are battery-operated devices that produce aerosol by heating a solution containing nicotine, which is the addictive substance in combustible cigarettes.
- They include all forms of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), Heat Not Burn Products, e-Hookah and the like devices.
- Association of Vapers India (AVI) is an organisation representing e-cigarette users.
Panel to study e-Cigarettes
A Group of Ministers (GoM) from commerce, health, agriculture, chemicals and petrochemicals, and food processing departments chaired by the finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had studied the proposal submitted by the Ministry of Health, to ban the production and import of e-cigarettes.
Features of Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes Ordinance, 2019
- The ordinance will ensure effective and timely action against the use of e-cigarettes.
- It will advance tobacco control efforts and lead in reduction of tobacco usage and in turn decline the associated economic and disease burden.
Powers of Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes Ordinance, 2019
- The ordinance allows authorised officials to conduct searches in premises.
- The places where such searches are not permissible, authorities may attach properties, stocks of e-cigarettes or records maintained by the manufacturer, producer exporter, transporter, importer, stockist against whom a complaint has been made.
- Any production, manufacturing, import, export, transport, sale (including online sale), distribution or advertisement (including online advertisement) of e-cigarettes shall be a cognizable offence punishable with imprisonment of up to 1 year or fine up to Rs. 1 lakh or both for the first offence.
- Imprisonment of up to 3 years and a fine up to Rs. 5 lakh for a subsequent offence.
- Storage of electronic-cigarettes shall also be punishable with imprisonment up to 6 months or fine up to Rs 50,000 or both.
Action against the existing stock
- The owners of existing stocks of e-cigarettes on the date of commencement of the Ordinance will have to suo moto declare and deposit these stocks with the nearest police stations.
- The Sub-Inspector of Police has been designated as the Authorized Officer to take action under the Ordinance.
- The Central or State Governments may also designate any other equivalent officer(s) as Authorized Officer for enforcement of the provisions of the Ordinance.
- The current decision comes after an advisory issued by the Government in 2018 to all States to consider banning e-cigarettes.
- 16 States and 1 Union territory have already banned e cigarettes in their jurisdictions.
- The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had recommended a complete ban on e-cigarettes based on currently available scientific evidence.
- The World Health Organization(WHO) had also urged member countries to take appropriate steps.
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