The Union Cabinet on Wednesday is likely to bring an ordinance seeking a ban on the production, import and sale of electronic cigarettes.
Notably e-cigarettes have become quite popular in the Northeast along with the rest of the country.
The Health Ministry has issued a draft ordinance named the Prohibition of e-cigarettes Ordinance, 2019 that seeks a ban on production, import and sale e-cigarettes and similar technologies that encourage tobacco use or adversely impact public health and are hazardous for an active as well as passive user.
In the draft ordinance, the Health Ministry proposed those who are found to be violating the rules of the ban of e-cigarettes for the first time should face a jail term of one year and a fine of Rs one lakh.
However, it also proposed that repeat offenders of the rules should face a jail term of three years and a fine of Rs five lakh.
As per reports, the draft ordinance was recently examined by a Group of Ministers (GoM) following directions from the Prime Minister’s Office.
Some changes have been made in the ordinance as per the suggestion of the GoM.
However, if the Cabinet brings an ordinance, it will have to replace it with a bill in the next session of Parliament.
After the bill gets approved by the Parliament, it will be legally possible for the ban on e-cigarettes to become functional.
Some organizations and people protested against the health ministry’s proposed ordinance on banning of e-cigarettes claiming that it is trying to bypass the judicial system after Delhi High Court stayed the government’s move to ban vapes.
The Delhi High Court had recently stayed the Centre’s circular banning sale and manufacture of ENDS like e-cigarettes and e-hookah with nicotine flavour, saying as the products were not a ‘drug’, the authorities did not have the jurisdiction to issue such a direction.
However, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) sought a complete ban on e-cigarettes stating that it can cause severe respiratory diseases and affect the cardiovascular and immune system in the human body.