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E-cigarettes banned after Union Cabinet approves ordinance

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the Cabinet decided to ban the sale, production, and import of e-cigarettes as they pose health risk to people.

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New Delhi: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved an ordinance to ban production, import, distribution and sale of electronic cigarettes, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said. The Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes Ordinance 2019 has penal provisions including imprisonment for first and repeat offences.

Sitharaman, who headed a Group of Ministers (GoM) on the issue, said the Cabinet decided to ban e-cigarettes and similar products as they pose a health risk to people, especially the youth. Citing a study in the US, she said there had been 900 per cent growth in e-cigarettes between 2011 and 2015-16.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar, who was also present at the press briefing, said it was a timely step and the proposal had come to the cabinet after due deliberation. “This is a welcome step. Prevention is always better,” he said.

The Health Ministry had announced that it would ban all Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) as part of the first 100 days agenda of the new Modi government. In August, after 75 days of being power, the ministry pushed for the ordinance. 

This particular ordinance has been a subject of contention between the government and the courts since the start of 2019. In March, this year, a single-judge bench of the Delhi High Court had granted an interim stay on the Centre’s circular banning the sale and manufacture of ENDS, saying the products were not a “drug” and hence, authorities did not have the jurisdiction to issue such a direction.

(With inputs from agencies)

Also read: E-cigarettes or porn: Banning is always the Indian politician’s first response


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