Emphasising the harmful health effects of e-cigarettes, the Lower House of Indian Parliament on Wednesday passed a law banning e-cigarettes.
The legislation seeks a ban on the production, manufacture, import, export, transport, sale, distribution, storage and advertisement of e-cigarettes.
India’s Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan rejected opposition claims that e-cigarettes were less harmful for health than normal cigarettes saying “less harmful does not mean it’s not harmful.”
The BJP lawmakers said it was necessary to ban e-cigarettes as they could contain nicotine and flavours. The ban includes all forms of electronic nicotine delivery systems, heat-not-burn products, and e-hookahs.
Defending the Bill, Dr. Harsh Vardhan added: “Government felt the need to nip in the bud the growing use of e-cigarettes and similar products.”
According to the provision of the legislation, any violation of the law would attract up to three years of imprisonment and a fine up to $700.
The opposition, including the Congress Party, cornered the government over allegations that it was trying to safeguard the interests of private tobacco industries.
In September, India’s federal government banned e-cigarettes though a Presidential decree, which has yet to be ratified in Parliament.
Recently, India’s Home Ministry directed all state governments to strictly enforce an e-cigarette ban in their territories as per the Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes Ordinance.
The directive from the Ministry empowered police officers across states to "enter, search and seize" prohibited items without a warrant.
Falling under the electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS), non-combustible tobacco products are also known as Vapes, e-hookahs, electronic cigarettes and e-pipes.
According to the World Health Organisation, smoke and smokeless tobacco products kill nearly 1 million people every year.