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The government on Wednesday banned production, import and sale of e-cigarettes and similar products, citing health risk to people, especially youth, and an ordinance has been brought in to make it an offence, entailing jail term up to three years as well as fine. First-time violators will face a jail term of up to one year and a fine of Rs one lakh, and for subsequent offences, a jail term of up to three years or a fine of Rs 5 lakh, or both have been prescribed. Storage of electronic-cigarettes shall also be punishable with an imprisonment up to 6 months or fine up to Rs 50,000 or both. The decision, taken by the Union cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, also hit the plans of foreign companies such as Juul Labs and Philip Morris International (PM.N) to enter the Indian market. E-cigarettes promoting trade bodies, users and other stakeholders slammed the government’s move to ban the “alternative” smoking device through the ordinance route, alleging it was a “draconian” step taken in haste to protect the conventional cigarette industry.


Promulgation of the Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (production, manufacture, import, export, transport, sale, distribution, storage and advertisement) Ordinance, 2019.

  • Any production, manufacturing, import, export, transport, sale (including online sale), distribution or advertisement (including online advertisement) of e-cigarettes shall be a cognizable offence punishable with an imprisonment of up to one year or fine up to Rs. 1 lakh or both for the first offence; and imprisonment of up to three years and fine up to Rs. 5 lakh for a subsequent offence.
  • Storage of electronic-cigarettes shall also be punishable with an imprisonment up to 6 months or fine up to Rs 50,000 or both.  
  • The owners of existing stocks of e-cigarettes on the date of commencement of the Ordinance will have to suomoto declare and deposit these stocks with the nearest police station.
  • The Sub-Inspector of Police has been designated as the Authorized Officer to take action under the Ordinance.
  • The Central or State Governments may also designate any other equivalent officer(s) as Authorized Officer for enforcement of the provisions of the Ordinance.



  • Electronic-cigarettes are battery-operated devices that produce aerosol by heating a solution containing nicotine, which is the addictive substance in combustible cigarettes.
  • These include all forms of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems, Heat Not Burn Products, e-Hookah and the like devices.
  • These novel products come with attractive appearances and multiple flavours and their use has increased exponentially and has acquired epidemic proportions in developed countries, especially among youth and children.


Why is there a need to ban?

  • No evidence of being a safe product and have a negative impact on health.
  • No approval for e- cigarettes in India.
  • Unlike the tried and tested nicotine and non-nicotine pharmacotherapies that are known to help people quit tobacco use, the WHO does not endorse e-cigarettes as cessation aids.
  • The possibility of tobacco industry interference in tobacco cessation efforts through misinformation about the potential benefits of these products, which are presented as alternatives but in most cases are complementary to the use of conventional tobacco products, also is a present and real possibility.
  • Apart from nicotine, e-cigarettes may also be used for delivery of other psychoactive substances.
  • Scientifically proven nicotine replacement therapies, without the risks associated with e-cigarettes, exist in the form of gums, lozenges and patches for those willing to quit tobacco use.
  • Widespread use and unchecked proliferation of e-cigarettes and the like devices would seriously undermine and derail Government’s efforts to reduce the prevalence of tobacco use.


Harmful effects:

Considering the highly addictive nature of nicotine; safety concern of flavours in combination with nicotine; risk of use of other psychoactive substances through these devices; initiation of nicotine or psychoactive substances by non-smokers, especially adolescents and youth; dual use of e-cigarettes and conventional cigarettes; scant scientific evidence for use of e-cigarettes as effective tobacco cessation aids; threat to country’s tobacco control efforts; hindrance in achieving the targets envisaged under Sustainable Development Goals, National Monitoring Framework for Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases and National Health Policy, 2017; and in overall interest of public health as envisaged under Article 47 of the Constitution of India, the decision has been taken to prohibit/ban e-cigarettes including all forms of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems [ENDS), Heat Not Burn Products, e-Hookah and the like devices.


Youngsters ill- informed:

  • It is a preventive decision.
  • The youngsters are hooked to e- cigarettes and range of Electronic Nicotine Delivery system and the reason being super marketing by a lot of ends selling firms which are now reaching young groups and telling them that it is not harmful.
  • They are designing ends in a way to resemble cigarettes which becomes fashionable for young minds to get hooked.
  • No evidences that these are harm reduction devices.


Demand to ban tobacco too:

  • India is the largest market after China.
  • E- cigarettes is not an approved tool of cessation.
  • Already actions have been taken against tobacco under COPTA Act.
  • Latest GATS survey shows that incidence of cigarettes smoking has come done by 6%.
  • 6% of India’s population is smoker.



  • E- cigarettes are very harmful and the ban should be welcomed.
  • If anything harmful it should never be allowed in the interest of public health.
  • 14 states in India and 30 countries have already banned it
  • Robust implementation is the key.

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