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What is an e-cigarette, why is it harmful and why has it been banned. All you need to know

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday gave an approval to ban electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes. The production, manufacturing, import/export, transport, sale, distribution, storage and advertising related to e-cigarettes have been banned with immediate effect.

What is an e-cigarette, why is it harmful and why has it been banned. All you need to know
Representational image (Courtesy: Pixabay)

New Delhi: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday gave an approval to ban electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes. The production, manufacturing, import/export, transport, sale, distribution, storage and advertising related to e-cigarettes have been banned with immediate effect.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman while addressing the press conference in Delhi said that e-cigarettes are being used as a "style statement". 

"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 flavours," she said.

Citing a study in the US, Sitharaman said there had been 900 per cent growth in e-cigarettes between 2011 and 2015-16. The Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes Ordinance 2019 has as penal provisions including imprisonment for first and repeat offence.

An e-cigarette is a battery-powered device having a long tube which resembles a cigarette but comes in different variations. It is used without burning tobacco. Using an e-cigarette is known as 'vaping'. Instead of the cigarette smoke, the person inhales an aerosol. It's reusable and can be refilled too. 

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It is said that an e-cigarette helps people quit smoking. However, reports say that it has a negative impact on health as some of them contain nicotine.

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.

More than 9,00,000 people die each year in the country due to tobacco-related illnesses. But India has 106 million adult smokers, second only to China in the world, making it a lucrative market for firms such as Juul and Philip Morris, Reuters reported. 

The violation of rules may fine you up to Rs 1 lakh or 1 year in jail or both. Repeat offenders will have to pay a fine of Rs 5 lakh or three years in jail or both.

(With agency inputs)