Hyderabad: Public health experts, anti-tobacco activists and voluntary organisations welcomed Parliament passing the Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (production, manufacture, import, export, transport, sale, distribution, storage and advertisement) Bill, 2019.
The Rajya Sabha passed the Bill on Monday while Lok Sabha did it on November 27. The Centre had issued an ordinance to ban e-cigarettes in September, and the new law would replace the ordinance.
The Bill defines e-cigarettes as electronic devices that heat a substance, which may contain nicotine and other chemicals, to create vapour for inhalation. Any person who contravenes this provision will be punishable with imprisonment of up to one year, or a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh, or both. “The Bill will protect youth and children from the risk of addiction through e-cigarettes and similar device. This will go a long way in saving millions of lives,” said Bhavna B Mukhopadhyay, Chief Executive, Voluntary Health Association of India (VHAI).
Under the Bill, if any person stores any stock of e-cigarettes, he/she will be imprisoned for up to six months, or slapped with a fine of up to Rs 50,000, or both. “e-cigarettes pose significant health risks to users that are frighteningly similar to those of conventional cigarettes, and it’s a welcome move that it is banned in the interest of public health,” said Dr A Srikanth, Secretary Indian Dental Association (IDA), Deccan Branch.