The Rajya Sabha is scheduled to resume discussion on the Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes Bill, 2019 on Monday. The Lok Sabha has already passed the bill, which seeks to prohibit the production, trade, transport, storage and advertisement of electronic cigarettes. Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan called the ban a "pre-emptive strike" on its addiction. E-cigarettes are the most common form of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems. These are basically devices that do not burn or use tobacco leaves and instead vaporise a solution using a battery, which is then inhaled by the user.
E-cigarettes were originally developed as a viable alternative to cigarettes to help smokers quit, reducing the risk of lung disease and cancer. But, recent studies have shown that e-cigarettes are not a safe alternative for tobacco and can cause respiratory complications.
The market for these products has been estimated at $15.6 million in India and is expected to grow at an alarming rate of 60 percent per annum, according to a Euromonitor International report.
Here are the highlights from The Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Transport, Sale, Distribution, Storage and Advertisement) Bill, 2019:The bill defines e-cigarettes as electronic devices that heat a substance, which may contain nicotine and other chemicals, to create vapour for inhalation.These e-cigarettes can also contain different flavours and include all forms of electronic nicotine delivery systems, heat-not-burn products, e-hookahs, and other similar devices.The bill prohibits the production, manufacture, import, export, transport, sale, distribution and advertisement of e-cigarettes in India.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.For any subsequent offence, the person will be punishable with an imprisonment of up to three years, along with a fine of up to Rs 5 lakh.Under the bill, no person is allowed to use any place for the storage of any stock of e-cigarettes.If any person stores any stock of e-cigarettes, he will be punishable with an imprisonment of up to six months, or a fine of up to Rs 50,000 or both.Once the bill comes into force, the owners of existing stocks of e-cigarettes will have to declare and deposit these stocks at the nearest office of an authorised officer.Such an authorised officer may be a police officer (at least at the level of a sub-inspector), or any other officer as notified by the central or state government.If an authorised officer believes that any provision of the bill has been contravened, he can search any place where trade, production, storage or advertising of e-cigarettes is being undertaken.The authorised officer can seize any record or property connected to e-cigarettes found during the search.Further, he may take the person connected with the offence into custody.
-with inputs from agencies and PRS Legislative Research