The Union Cabinet is scheduled to hold a meeting at 10:30 AM on Wednesday at 7, Lok Kalyan Marg, the official residence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Sources told Zee Media that during the meeting, which will be chaired by PM Modi, the Cabinet may consider bringing an ordinance to ban production, distribution, import and sale of electronic cigarettes. The Cabinet is also expected to take decisions on some other issues.
E-cigarettes or "vaping" cigarettes are sold across the world as a harmless product which helps people in quitting smoking. The e-cigarettes do not use tobacco but heat the liquid chemicals into a vapour or steam that is inhaled by the smokers and experts claim that though e-cigarettes are marketed as a harmless product they are harmful to health.
According to sources, the Health Ministry has proposed to make production, manufacturing, import, export, transport, sale, distribution or advertisements of e-cigarettes a cognizable offence. The draft ordinance prepared by Health MInistry makes storage of e-cigarettes punishable with jail term upto 6 months and fine upto Rs 50,000 or both.
In August 2018, the Health Ministry had issued an advisory against Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) including e-cigarettes, heat-not-burn devices, vape and other such devices.
"As such, the states/Union territories are advised, in larger public health interest and in order to prevent the initiation of ENDS by non-smokers and youth with special attention to vulnerable groups, to ensure that any Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) including e-cigarettes, heat-not-burn devices, vape, e-sheesha, e-nicotine flavoured hookah, and the like devices that enable nicotine delivery are not sold (including online sale), manufactured, distributed, traded, imported and advertised in their jurisdictions," the advisory said.