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Tobacco farmers, merchants debate over e-cigarette ban

K V Kurmanath Hyderabad | Updated on September 17, 2019 Published on September 17, 2019

Warring factions of farmers, merchants engage in duel

Tobacco farmers and merchants are engaged in a duel over whether banning e-cigarettes is good for them or not. While one section argues that banning e-cigarettes would benefit tobacco growers, the other side contends that any ban on sales of e-cigarettes could adversely impact their interests.

The Federation of All India Farmers Association (FAIFA) has alleged that certain vested interests are trying to give an impression that any ban on e-cigarettes or vaping products would result in revenue losses to the farmers.

“Their arguments are misleading and totally incorrect. There are no restrictions on the export of nicotine in any form and neither new restrictions on exports are being reported,” Murali Babu, General Secretary of FAIFA, has said.

“Tobacco dust, which is a residue produced while processing chewing and bidi tobacco, is used as raw material to manufacture nicotine. No fresh quantity of tobacco is produced by farmers to extract nicotine,” he said.

“Even if fresh tobacco leaves are used, there is surplus availability to meet the demand for nicotine exports,” he added.

The Gujarat Tobacco Merchants Association and Gujarat Tobacco Growers and Merchants Association, had issued a statement on Monday, saying the Ordinance to ban e-cigarettes would send negative signals.

“It will kill the opportunity for Indian tobacco growers to transform their produce and gain from value addition of their crops,” Bhikhubhai N Patel, President of Gujarat Tobacco Merchants Association, has said.

“Gujarat tobacco leaf is suited to nicotine extraction. The State is the largest producer and supplier of such tobacco. Nicotine processing will become the next global opportunity for our farmers and industries,” he contended.

He argued that e-cigarettes delivered nicotine just like ordinary cigarettes . “E-cigarettes have become a trend as more and more people are opting for a safer way of consuming tobacco,” he said.

Stating that there was a chance for Gujarat to tap this new opportunity, he said the country could consider establishing nicotine manufacturing units in the co-operative sector.

The FAIFA leader, however, said that the world was witnessing more and more restrictions on e-cigarettes and vaping products. “Facing imminent restrictions the businesses have now set their eyes on India,” he pointed out.

Published on September 17, 2019
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