Bill to ban e-cigarettes passed
Lok Sabha on 27 November 2019 passed a bill which seeks to ban electronic cigarettes, with Health Minister Harsh Vardhan saying such a measure was necessary to protect the youth from a new intoxication being promoted by companies as a new "fashion". The Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Transport, Sale, Distribution, Storage and Advertisement) Bill, 2019, seeks to replace an ordinance issued on September 18.
- The minister also said that the Indian Council of Medical Research issued a white paper on e-cigarette and demanded its ban.
- The Bill makes the manufacturing, production, import, export, distribution, transport, sale, storage or advertisements of such alternative smoking devices a cognisable offence, attracting a jail term and a fine.
- First-time violators will face a jail term of up to one year and a fine of Rs 1 lakh. For subsequent offences, a jail term of up to three years or a fine of Rs 5 lakh, or both, will be imposed, according to the ordinance.
- The storage of e-cigarettes shall also be punishable with imprisonment of up to six months or a fine of up to Rs 50,000, or both.
What are e-cigarettes?
- E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that heat a solution of nicotine and different flavours to create aerosol, which is then inhaled.
- These devices belong to a category of vapour-based nicotine products called Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS).
- E-cigarettes and other ENDS products may look like their traditional counterparts (regular cigarettes or cigars), but they also come in other shapes and sizes and can resemble daily use products, including pens and USB drives.
- Several companies selling ENDS in India have positioned these products as a safer, less harmful alternative to traditional cigarettes or as devices that could help users quit smoking.
What is the size of the e-cigarettes market in India?
- India’s vapour products market was nascent, but expected to experience rapid growth.
- It was valued at over $15 million in 2017, according to analyst reports, and projected to grow nearly 60 per cent a year up to 2022.
- A recent study by Prescient and Strategic Intelligence showed that India’s e-cigarette market was expected to reach $45.3 million by 2024, growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 26.4 per cent.
- E-cigarettes are the most common type of ENDS, with over 460 different brands and more than 7,700 flavours marketed in India currently.
- Imports of e-cigarettes, their accessories and other ENDS products grew around 119 per cent from 2016-17 to 2018-19.