Last Summer, the Union Health Ministry had prepared the Prohibition of E-cigarettes Ordinance 2019, which was sent to the Cabinet for review. This measure had proposed setting in place a maximum imprisonment of up to one year alongside a penalty of Rs 1lakh ($1,400) for first-time violators. While repeat offenders could face up to three years of jail and a penalty of Rs 5lakh ($7,000).
Meanwhile, the bill replacing this ordinance which was passed in Lok Sabha last month, will prohibit the production, trade, transport, storage and advertisement of electronic cigarettes across India. It would provide for imprisonment of up to one year, or a fine of up to one lakh rupees, or both to a first time violator, and an imprisonment of up to three years, along with a fine of up to five lakh rupees, for any subsequent offence.
How does banning e-cigs and nor regular cigarettes make sense?
Whilst debating the bill, some members expressed their concern about it being brought about by motivated tobacco companies, with the agenda of having their products taking center stage on the market. Hence they demanded that the ban be extended to combustible tobacco products. In response to these legitimate concerns, the minister said that he would gladly ban tobacco completely. “We have done it with very pious intention. There is no vested interest,” said Health Minister Harsh Vardhan.
Read Further: India Today