The Union Cabinet of India chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has recently approved the Promulgation of the Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (production, manufacture, import, export, transport, sale, distribution, storage and advertisement) Ordinance, 2019 on 18-09-2019. The Government of India has taken this initiative to prohibit the use of e-cigarettes in India, in overall interest of public health as envisaged under Article 47 of the Constitution of India 1950 as amended thereof.
According to the Union Cabinet, e-cigarettes are battery-operated devices that produce aerosol by heating a solution containing nicotine, which is said to be the addictive substance in combustible cigarettes. These products are sold in market with attractive appearances and multiple flavours, which have successfully induced a large of number of people, especially among youth and children, to use battery-operated devices including e-cigarettes, e-hookahs, etc.
As per the Cabinet, the Ordinance recognizes production, manufacture, etc of e-cigarettes as a cognizable offence and provides the following punishment for the same:
A) For production, manufacture, import, export, transport, sale (including online sale), distribution or advertisement (including online advertisement) of e-cigarettes:
- Imprisonment of up to 1 year or fine up to Rs. 1 Lakh or both for the first offence; and
- Imprisonment of up to 3 years and fine up to Rs. 5 Lakhs for a subsequent offence.
B) Storage of electronic-cigarettes:
- Imprisonment of up to 6 months or fine up to Rs 50,000/- or both.
C) Deposit of existing stocks of e-cigarettes in any nearby police stations:
- The Sub-Inspectors of Police at every police station have been authorized to take action against offenders including those who have not deposited their existing stock of banned e-cigarettes, on the date of commencement of the Ordinance.
This move of the Government is aimed at protecting the younger generation from the increased risk of addiction to e-cigarettes, and further, at controlling and reducing the use of tobacco and associated diseases, etc in the country.
Senior Legal Associate
The Indian Lawyer