Enumerate the concerns behind the use of e-cigarettes. What will be the impacts of recent ban on use of e-cigarettes in India?

Published: July 4, 2019

E-cigarettes are all slated for a nationwide ban in India as announced by the Ministry of Health. This forms a part of the first 100 days programme of the new government.

  • They have been labelled as drugs.
  • Even the nicotine inhalers which are also called the electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) have been banned as they have been categorized as drugs. These are said to be very popular among smokers.
  • These devices are said to use a heating element which changes a liquid nicotine solution into vapours. It is these vapours which are inhaled by the user. No tobacco leaves are burnt in it.
  • Studies have proven the fact that these e-cigarettes lead to a stress response in neural stem cells which are critical for the brain.
  • E-cigarettes have gained popularity among youngsters as they are marketed as products which can help the smokers quit. E-cigarettes have become a fashion statement among the young crowd. But these are unlicensed products and have entered India via illegal channels.
  • The Ministry of Health is all set to ban its manufacture, import and even sale in India. These are generally sold online.
  • The government data suggests that more than 460 brands of these cigarettes are presently available in India. They carry different configurations of nicotine delivery and come in more than 7700 flavours.
  • As per the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, the government cannot actually ban these products but can only regulate how these are sold. Thus the government faces a dilemma over the legal provisions which will be needed to ban these e-cigarettes.
  • However, as per the definition of a drug under Section (b) of Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 (DCA), all these devices are included under the definition of drug and can be banned.

Impacts
This is not the first time such a ban has been introduced in India. Although there is no legal basis for the government to ban these products many countries of the world have also imposed partial bans on these. The Trade body which promotes the Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems has asked the government not to rush into any decision for banning these. It states that all the stakeholders should be consulted before such a law is passed.

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