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Govt issues ordinance to ban e-cigarettes

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman displays vaping products during a press conference in New Delhi on September 18, 2019 while announcing the Union Cabinet’s approval to bring an ordinance to ban production, import, distribution and sale of electronic cigarettes.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman displays vaping products during a press conference in New Delhi on September 18, 2019 while announcing the Union Cabinet’s approval to bring an ordinance to ban production, import, distribution and sale of electronic cigarettes.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The Government on Thursday issued an ordinance to ban e-cigarettes, making the production, import, export, transport, sale or advertisements of such “alternative” smoking devices a cognizable offence attracting jail term and fine.

First time violators will face a jail term of up to one year and a fine of ₹1 lakh. For subsequent offences, a jail term of up to three years or a fine of ₹5 lakh, or both according to the ordinance.

Govt issues ordinance to ban e-cigarettes
 

The storage of e-cigarettes shall now be punishable with imprisonment of up to six months or a fine of up to ₹50,000 or both.

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday decided to ban production, import, distribution and sale of electronic cigarettes, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said.

Ms. Sitharaman, who had headed a Group of Ministers (GoM) on the issue, said the Cabinet decided to ban e-cigarettes and similar products as they pose health risk to people, especially the youth.

The ordinance also allows authorised officials to conduct searches in premises stating that where such searches are not permissible, authorities may attach properties, stocks of e-cigarettes or records maintained by the manufacturer, producer exporter, transporter, importer, stockist against whom a complaint has been made.

It also said that that the owner or occupier of the place which stock of e-cigarettes shall voluntarily prepare a list of such stock in his possession and without delay submit the stock to the nearest authorised officer.

However, e-cigarettes promoting trade bodies, users and other stakeholders slammed the government’s move to ban “alternative” smoking device through the ordinance route, alleging it was a “draconian” step taken in haste to protect the conventional cigarette industry.

Association of Vapers India (AVI), an organisation representing e-cigarette users, also alleged that it is a black day for 11 crore smokers in India who have been deprived of safer options.

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Printable version | Jul 8, 2020 11:07:56 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/govt-issues-ordinance-to-ban-e-cigarettes/article29456321.ece

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