NEW DELHI, SEPTEMBER 18: The Union Cabinet has given the approval to ban e-cigarettes in the country, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in New Delhi on Wednesday.
The production, manufacturing, import/export, transport, sale, distribution, storage and advertising related to e-cigarettes would be banned, Sitharaman said at a press conference that followed a Cabinet meeting. The Government would bring in an ordinance in this regard.
Sitharaman, who headed a Group of Ministers (GoM) on the issue, said the Cabinet decided to ban e-cigarettes and similar products as they posed health risk to people, especially the youth.
The Centre’s decision is based on a white paper released by ICMR on the potential hazard of e-cigarettes.
As per the draft Bill, the offence will be punishable with a jail term of up to 1 year or a fine up to ?1 lakh or both for the first-time offenders, and jail of up to 3 years and fine up to ?5 lakh for repeat offenders. Storage of e-cigarettes shall also be punishable with imprisonment of up to 6 months or fine up to ?50,000 or both.
Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said e-hookahs would also be banned. There was no health benefit from e-cigarettes.
India has the 2nd largest number of tobacco users (268 million ) in the world – of these, at least 12 lakh die every year from tobacco-related diseases.
(Courtesy: The Hindu)