E-cigarette ban: WHO lauds India’s move, says ‘definitive’ step to protect public healthhttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/e-cigarettes-ban-india-who-6014340/

E-cigarette ban: WHO lauds India’s move, says ‘definitive’ step to protect public health

On September 18, the Indian government approved an ordinance that prohibits the production, import, distribution and sale of electronic cigarettes, and proposes a jail term for violating the provisions.

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Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during a press conference in New Delhi, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019. (Express photo: Tashi Tobgyal)

The World Health Organisation (WHO) Friday congratulated the Indian government for putting a ban on e-cigarettes across the country. Terming the government’s move as ‘strong and definitive step’, the WHO in a statement said this will go a long way in protecting public health and wellbeing of future generations.

“The strong leadership demonstrated by the government by banning e-cigarettes will go a long way in protecting public health and wellbeing of future generations,” the WHO said in a statement.

It also said the use of these products has increased exponentially acquiring epidemic proportions in developed countries, especially among the youth and children.

Explained | Why e-cigarettes bother the govt

On September 18, the Indian government approved an ordinance that prohibits the production, import, distribution and sale of electronic cigarettes, and proposes a jail term for violating the provisions. “The decision to prohibit e-cigarettes will help protect the population, especially the youth and children, from the risk of addiction through E-cigarettes,” the government had said in a statement.

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The move garnered support from a large section of medical experts. However, industry associations and users of e-cigarettes claimed that the move discriminates against a product that is less harmful than traditional tobacco. They also say that such products helped people quit smoking.

Read | India’s move to ban e-cigarettes ‘historic’, says US-based advocacy group

Under the new rule, first-time offenders may face imprisonment of up to one year, a fine up to Rs 1 lakh, or both. Subsequent offences may lead to up to three years’ imprisonment and Rs 5 lakh in fine, while those found storing e-cigarettes and other such Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) products will face up to six months in prison and up to Rs 55,000 in fines, or both.

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