As per the recent reports, the Union Government has issued directions to ban e-cigarettes after Union Cabinet gave its approval to the same. It was told to the media by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday during a press conference in Delhi after the conclusion of Cabinet’s meet.

E-cigarettes or Electronic Cigarettes or Vapes are portable devices which are powered using a small battery and generate an aerosol smoke by heating a flavoured solution. This flavoured solution contains nicotine. It is also used in normal combustible cigarettes. These are re-usable devices and can be re-filled with a flavoured nicotine solution. The solution is generally supplied with the device and is available otherwise as well.

As per the government statistics, more than 70 per cent of the e-cigarette users belongs to the student’s community. The agenda of the government behind the ban is that studies have shown that e-cigarettes are even more harmful than conventional cigarettes and more addictive as well.

People have been protesting the ban on e-cigarettes stating that they are less harmful and less addictive compared to conventional cigarettes. They argue that e-cigarettes help people quit smoking. They say that the government should not ban them because they have not banned the conventional tobacco filled combustible cigarettes. However, it is not the case. E-cigarettes are as addictive and harmful as a cigarette can be, in every manner.

The Union Cabinet has approved the promulgation of the ‘Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes Ordinance, 2019’ after it was recently examined by a Group of Ministers. The same followed after directions were issued from the Prime Minister’s Office regarding the ban on e-cigarettes.

“The Union Cabinet has approved to ban e-cigarettes. It means the production, manufacturing, import/export, transport, sale, distribution, storage and advertising related to e-cigarettes are banned,” said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

‘E-cigarettes will be banned in India with immediate effect’, she said while announcing the news to the media on Wednesday. E-cigarettes are envisioned as a tool to fight the growing addiction for tobacco, nicotine and other such addictive drugs. Electronic cigarettes and other vaping products are easily available online as well as in the open market for sale. There were age restrictions regarding the same however, no strict actions were taken against the violation of the same by purchaser or seller. These products have played a vital role in escalating the problem & risk of children taking up smoking & getting addicted to tobacco and nicotine.

Ms Sitharaman said, “The production, manufacturing, import or export, transport, sale, distribution, storage and advertising of & related to e-cigarettes are banned in India with immediate effect.”

She further informed media that the ordinance passed by the cabinet has been sent to President of India Ram Nath Kovind for enforcing the law vide India.

The e-cigarettes are manufacture by more than 400 brands around the world. The manufacturers provide around 150 plus flavours to the customers. The Vaping devices/e-cigarettes are available in multiple designs, sizes, and power variants. Using e-cigarettes and vaping devices are being considered as cool and the trend is growing between youngsters especially teenagers. The government needed to act in this regard to stop the contagion before it completely turned into a style statement.

Banning of alternative methods of smoking devices like e-cigarettes, heat-not-burn smoking devices, vape and e-nicotine flavoured hookahs were the top priorities & highly promised agendas from amongst the first 100 days agenda of the Narendra Modi government when they returned to the term for the 2nd time.

The ordinance has been passed by the union cabinet and is yet to be approved by Parliament.

The ban will be in effect when an executive order will be typically issued in India as an emergency measure as currently, parliament is not in session. The approval of the same is expected to get completed in November, on the return of the assembly for its next term. However, it can lapse if the same is not approved & lawmakers convene against the same in the next session of parliament.

To make the law stringent, the government has proposed a jail term of up to one year along with a penalty of Rs. 1 lakh for the first time violators. Further, the same can go up to imprisonment of three years and/or a penalty of up to Rs. 5 lakhs if persons are caught violating for more than 1 time.

As per the figures suggested by the government, tobacco-related illness, diseases and disorders are the reason for around 9 lakh plus deaths in the country, every year. The sale and use of these devices in India have grown by around 900% from between 2011 to 2015-16.

India has a population of 106 million adult people who smoke daily. India and China are the countries with the most population around the world and are also the countries to have the most number of smokers. These 2 countries act as a lucrative market for firms such as Juul and Philip Morris, who run their business of e-cigarettes and vaping devices here, successfully.

The use of vaping devices had increased over the years in India. Even state governments had made efforts to mitigate the problem by advancing state-level prohibitions. However, it is easy for the dealers and the buyers to get the devices from other states or cities. The grey markets did not get any impact from such prohibitions. Hence a national level law was necessary to be put in place.

As you read already, there are no vape/e-cigarette manufacturers in India and they are imported from other countries. Thus, the central government can now prohibit devices from crossing international borders to enter India. This hopefully will have a notable impact and we may be successful in saving a generation from getting polluted with such addictive and hazardous habits.