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Promulgation of the Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes Ordinance

  • 19 Sep 2019
  • 6 min read

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

  • The prohibition of e-cigarettes includes all forms of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems [ENDS), Heat Not Burn Products, e-Hookah, and the like devices.
  • Any production, manufacturing, import, export, transport, sale (including online sale), distribution or advertisement (including online advertisement) of e-cigarettes shall be a cognizable offence.
  • The above-mentioned activities are 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 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 suo moto 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.
  • It enforces Article 47 of the Indian Constitution which mentions about State’s responsibility to promote Public Health.
  • It also enforces Sustainable Development Goals, National Monitoring Framework for Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases and National Health Policy, 2017.

Background

  • The Government had issued an advisory in 2018 to all States to consider banning e-cigarettes.
  • Punjab, Karnataka, Kerala, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, and Mizoram have already banned e-cigarettes in their jurisdictions.
  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) has urged member countries to take appropriate steps including prohibiting e-cigarettes and related products.
  • The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has also recommended a complete ban on e-cigarettes as it adversely affects almost all the human body systems with impact across the life course.
  • These products are usually marketed as being safer alternatives for conventional cigarettes but these products may act as gateway products to induce non-smokers, especially youth and adolescents, to nicotine-use, leading to addiction and subsequent use of conventional tobacco products.
  • E-cigarettes are usually promoted by the industry as smoking cessation aids but their efficacy and safety as a quitting aid have not yet been established.
  • Apart from nicotine, e-cigarettes may also be used for the delivery of other psychoactive substances.

Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS)

  • ENDS heat a solution (e-liquid) to create an aerosol which frequently contains flavourings, usually dissolved into Propylene Glycol or/and Glycerin.
  • Electronic cigarettes, the most common prototype, are devices that do not burn or use tobacco leaves but instead vaporize a solution so that a user can inhale.
  • The main constituents of the solution, in addition to nicotine, are propylene glycol, with or without glycerol and flavouring agents.
  • ENDS solutions and emissions also contain some other toxicant chemicals.

Concerns related to ENDS

  • These products are not registered as nicotine replacement therapy products in India.
  • E-cigarettes usually contain nicotine which makes product addictive.
  • E-cigarettes cause health hazards for youth, young adults, and pregnant women.
  • A number of metals, including lead, chromium, and nickel, and chemicals like formaldehyde have been found in aerosols of some ENDS, with concentrations equal to or greater than traditional cigarettes.
  • Lack of knowledge about negative effects of nicotine and the easy accessibility of these products make the youth prone to addiction.

Impact of Prohibition of E-Cigarettes

  • The decision to prohibit e-cigarettes will help protect the population, especially the youth and children, from the risk of addiction through E-cigarettes.
  • Enforcement of the Ordinance will complement the government's efforts for tobacco control and will help in the reduction of tobacco use and reduction in associated economic and disease burden.

National Health Policy, 2017

  • It aims to achieve universal access to good quality health care services without anyone having to face financial hardship as a consequence.
  • It intends to gradually increase public health expenditure to 2.5% of the GDP.
  • It proposes free drugs, free diagnostics, and free emergency and essential healthcare services in public hospitals.
  • The policy advocates allocating two-thirds of resources to primary care.

Source:PIB

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