New Delhi: An umbrella body of trade representatives promoting electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) has started a campaign opposing the government’s move to ban e-cigarettes and similar products.
Criticising the government’s move, the Trade Representatives of ENDS (TRENDS) said, “The ban will deprive the future generation of the benefit of new tech innovation and it will not mitigate the addiction to tobacco, which is a serious health issue.”
TRENDS consists of importers, distributors and marketers of alternative smoking devices.
“Something is not right about the health ministry’s push for an Ordinance to ban E-Cigarettes,” the body further said.
The Narendra Modi government, in September, had issued an ordinance to ban the use, sale, manufacture, distribution and advertisement of e-cigarettes in India. The ordinance was replaced with The Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Transport, Sale, Distribution, Storage and Advertisement) Bill, 2019 and was introduced in Parliament Friday.
The government’s decision was taken due to an alarming rise in vaping among the youth. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in September had said: “The Union cabinet has taken a decision to ban e-cigarettes. It means the production, manufacturing, import/export, sale, storage and advertising of e-cigarettes are banned. This is keeping in mind the impact it is having on the youth today.”
‘Is the Emergency back?’
TRENDS, in its campaign, also pointed out the “contradiction” of statements made by Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and Minister of State for Health Ashwini Choubey earlier this year.
“Was the epidemic of such proportions that an ordinance was needed to contain it? Could regulations not have worked?” TRENDS further asked.
The Bill also empowers a sub-inspector to enter premises, seize prohibited items and arrest without a warrant. Reacting to it, the traders body asked: “Is the Emergency back?”
The government’s decision was taken citing health reasons after the US saw seven deaths due to vaping. The ordinance was also passed after a study released by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) stated: “Use of ENDS or e-cigarettes has documented adverse effects on humans, which include DNA damage; carcinogenic, cellular, molecular and immunological toxicity; respiratory, cardiovascular and neurological disorders; and adverse impact on fetal development and pregnancy.”