Vaping | Photo: Arindam Mukherjee | ThePrint
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New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced Wednesday that the Union Cabinet had passed an ordinance to ban production, import, distribution and sale of electronic cigarettes.

Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said storing e-cigarettes and similar devices could warrant a punishment of upto six months, along with fines upto Rs 50,000.

The ministers said the decision was a preventive step to avert health risks related to the cigarettes. This announcement comes a day after New York became the first state in the US to ban flavoured e-cigarettes as federal health officials investigate breathing illnesses linked to vaping after seven reported deaths due to the use of e-cigarettes.

Twitter was quick to react, and there was some outpouring of support for the Centre’s move.

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E-cigarettes, or vapes as they are more commonly known, have been a growing fad among many smokers and non-smokers, especially young millennials. Vapes are hand-held devices from which people inhale/exhale vapour, and according to vape store owners, most customers take to e-cigarettes as an alternative to smoking.

Naturally, many millennials had many thoughts on the ban, with some even claiming it was just a way for the government to divert attention from their economic failures.

Some Twitter users wryly remarked that e-cigarettes would now be added to the list of things illegally smuggled into India. But many of them said if the government truly cared about health risks, it should ban tobacco cigarettes, which are proven cause of cancer.

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