India Bans E-cigarettes

India has effectively banned the sale and purchase of e-cigarettes across the nation by passing the Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Transport, Sale, Distribution, Storage and Advertisement) Bill, 2019.

What are e-cigarettes?

e-cigarettes or electronic cigarettes are battery-operated equipment that is used to administer aerosolized nicotine, which is the addictive component of a normal cigarette. India has classified all Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems, Heat Not Burn Products, e-Hookah, and the like devices as electronic cigarettes in need of regulation.

Why was this ban required?

India has chosen to take a step before matters got out of hand. The extensive use of e-cigarettes has reached epidemic proportions in developed nations across the world, especially among the youth and children. One of the biggest threats from these electronic devices is that they can be used to administer forms of psychoactive drugs, apart from nicotine. Banning e-cigarettes is a step towards ensuring that all the steps the government is taking towards regulating tobacco and improving public health will not be undermined.

Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes Bill, 2019

The bill, passed in December 2019, has categorized the production, manufacture, import, export, transport, distribution, sale, storage, and advertisement of e-cigarettes and other electronic equipment such as this as a cognizable offense. Any person found guilty of violating the law will be liable for a jail term of up to one year or a fine of up to Rs. 1 lakh in case of a first-time offense. Repeat offenders will face up to three years in prison, or up to Rs 5 lakhs in fine. Anyone found guilty of storage of e-cigarettes will face imprisonment of up to six months or a fine of Rs. 50,000. Anyone in possession of e-cigarettes has to declare and deposit them at their nearest office.

Way Forward

The banning of e-cigarettes is also a WHO-approved measure. This is the right step towards ensuring that the youth and children, as well as the rest of the population, are protected from such an addictive substance. The government must now concentrate on the efficient enforcement of the law.

Question for UPSC Mains:
India's battle against tobacco addiction has made incredibel advances in the recent years. Explain with a suitable example.

Published: January 10, 2020 | Modified:January 10, 2020

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