Style symbol: E-cigarettes can now be an expensive

The government has issued an ordinance to ban e-cigarettes. The ordinance makes the production, manufacturing, import, export, transport, sale, distribution and advertisements of e-cigarettes a punishable offence in the country.

The offence is punishable with imprisonment up to one year, or a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh for the first-time violators. For subsequent offences, the ordinance mandates imprisonment up to three years and fine up to Rs 5 lakh. Storage of electronic-cigarettes shall also be punishable with imprisonment up to six months or a fine of up to Rs 50,000 or both.

An ordinance is proposed by the government as it believes that a law is urgently needed but the Parliament is not in session. The ordinance will lapse if the government is not able to get the legislation passed by Parliament within six weeks of re-assembly.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced that the Cabinet had approved the ban on e-cigarettes, looking at the need to take early action to protect public health.

She said that E-cigarettes were meant to be a way of weaning away from smoking cigarettes. Data from the US has showed that many high school and middle-school students are taking to e-cigarettes. In India, e-cigarettes are being seen as a cool style statement.

In August 2018, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare issued an advisory to state governments to stop the manufacture, sale and import of electronic nicotine delivery systems, or ENDS, that include e-cigarettes, vape, e-sheesha, e-nicotine-flavoured hookah, and heat-not-burn devices.

Punjab, Karnataka, Mizoram, Kerala, Jammu and Kashmir, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have already banned the sale, manufacture, distribution and import of such devices.

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