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FM Nirmala Sitharaman announces a ban on e-cigarettes

New Delhi | Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday announced that the Cabinet has approved the ban of the sale of e-cigarettes.

“The Union Cabinet has given an approval to ban e-cigarettes. It means the production, manufacturing, import/export, transport, sale, distribution, storage and advertising related to e-cigarettes are banned,” said Sitharaman.

Following this decision, manufacturing, import, export, transport, sale, distribution, storage and advertising related to e-cigarettes are now banned.

The ban on e-cigarettes is expected to have a budgetary impact of Rs 2,028 crore. Nirmala Sitharaman said the key reason behind the move was the alarming rate at which vaping is becoming popular among the younger population.

“E-cigarettes were promoted as a way to get people out of their smoking habits but reports have shown that many people are not using it as weaning mechanism but are addicted to it,” said Sitharaman.

Sitharaman said the government would pass an ordinance immediately subject to President’s approval to give effect to the ban. The government would introduce a bill in Parliament in the winter session, she said.

The minister added, “Reports say that there are some who are probably getting into the habit of e-cigarettes as it seems cool. It is believed that there are more than 400 brands, none of which is manufactured in India. And they come in over 150 flavours.”

A draft ordinance suggests that storage of them will now be punishable by Rs 50,000, imprisonment up to six months or both.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar, who was also present at the briefing, said it was a timely step and the proposal had come to the cabinet after due deliberation.

“This is a welcome step. Prevention is always better,” he said.

Once the ordinance is issued, any individual in possession of e-cigarette stocks needs to declare and deposit it with the nearest police station.

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