Government has banned e-cigarettes in India, announces Nirmala Sitharaman
The Centre led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday banned e-cigarettes with immediate effect, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sithararam announced. The move was approved by the Union Cabinet. "It means the production, manufacturing, import/export, transport, sale, distribution, storage and advertising related to e-cigarettes are banned," the Bharatiya Janata Party leader said at a press meet held in New Delhi. Here are more details.
What are e-cigarettes, and how harmful can they be?
The process of heating a liquid to turn into steam is called vaping. E-cigarettes also work on the same idea and have nicotine to "help" traditional smokers quit. Pegged as an alternative to smoking, e-cigarettes aren't as beneficial as projected. Recent studies showed vaping leads to shortness of breath, fever, fatigue, and lung irritation. In the US, six people died due to vaping.
Banning e-cigarettes was a key priority of Modi 2.0
Reportedly, enabling a blanket ban on e-cigarettes, heat-not-burn smoking devices, vape, and e-nicotine flavored hookahs, was one of the top priorities of PM Modi's second term. The Centre was supposed to take this up in the first 100 days. Recently, a Group of Minister (GoM) examined the Prohibition of E-cigarettes Ordinance, 2019. The matter will be taken up during the Parliament's winter session.
E-cigarettes have become a "style statement": Sitharaman
Sitharaman said e-cigarettes are being seen as "style statement" and government wanted to end the problem in its bud. "Reports say there are some who are probably getting into the habit of e-cigarettes as it seems cool. It is believed that there are more than 400 brands, none of which is manufactured yet in India. And they come in over 150 flavors," she said.
First-time offenders to be fined Rs. 1 lakh
According to the draft ordinance, storing e-cigarettes will invite a fine of Rs. 50,000, a jail term of up to six months or both. Further, in the draft ordinance, the Health Ministry had suggested that first-time violators should face maximum imprisonment of one year, or be fined Rs. 1 lakh. Repeat offenders can be fined up to Rs. 5 lakh, the ordinance added.
Subsequently, shares of cigarette companies shot up
As soon as the announcement was made, shares of cigarette makers saw a jump. Shares of ITC, Godfrey Phillips India, VST Industries and Golden Tobacco rose by 1.8%, 7.8%, 1%, and 4.5% respectively, reports LiveMint.