Lok Sabha passed the bill that bans usage of E-cigarettes in the country by voice vote on Wednesday. If this bill comes to force it will be a crime to manufacture, import or sell E-cigarettes in India.
The Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Transport, Sale, Distribution, Storage and Advertisement) Bill, 2019, will replace an ordinance to this effect which has already been passed in September earlier this year.
Cutting across party lines, parliamentarians were supportive of the bill, but urged the house to not stop at just banning e-cigarettes. Most were of the opinion that smoking tobacco-based cigarettes also cause considerable harm and should eventually be banned following the e-cigarette route.
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Members of Parliament argued that international data reflected a rising trend of young children taking to e-cigarettes and it is important to ban the product to protect the younger generations. The US Food and Drug Administration (US-FDA) is currently investigating reported lung injuries and their relation to vaping using e-cigarettes. It has issued multiple warnings encouraging discontinuation of e-cigarette use in the US.
First time offenders according to the bill can be jailed up to a year and a fine of up to one lakh can be imposed. For repeat offenders the jail term can be extended up till three years with fine extending up til five lakh rupees.
Quoting a media report, a member of Parliament stated that an estimated up to $1.9 lakh worth e-cigarettes had been imported to India. 30 countries across the world have banned e-cigarettes and 98 countries have tried to regulate it’s use one or the other way.