Two weeks earlier, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the government-imposed ban on e-cigarettes in the country. On 29th September, PM Narendra Modi, in his monthly radio address, spoke in defense of the ban and stated that the ban on the sale of e-cigarettes was prohibited to prevent the youth from falling into the new embellished trap of intoxication.
Through ‘Mann ki Baat‘, Modi said that particular myths have been circulated in the community that e-cigarettes pose no threat to one’s health. This was the first time that the Prime Minister expressed on health hazards linked to the usage of e-cigarettes since the Union cabinet outlawed the sale, production, and storage of e-cigarettes through an injunction. If an individual or an entity violates the illegal activities, he will endure a maximum jail term of three years and a fine of Rs 5 lakh.
The coolness factor of e-cigarettes
He reportedly said,
“There is little awareness among people about e-cigarettes. They are also completely unaware of its danger, and for this reason, sometimes e-cigarettes sneak into the house out of sheer curiosity.”
The government has been trying to ban all such similar products for a while now. Modi further accentuated that the smoker and the seller are well aware of the dangers posed by a cigarette, but when it comes to e-cigarettes, there is little or no knowledge regarding the threats posed by it.
In March 2019, 13 states in India including Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, and Jharkhand banned the use of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS). The Indian government had proposed to outlaw ENDS under the Prohibition of E-cigarettes Ordinance 2019. The draft proposes a one year prison term for the offenders along with a Rs 1 lakh penalty for the first time violators.
According to members of TRENDS, one of the biggest drawbacks of ENDS is its high adoption among young students who can easily buy these products online. The price range for vapes and e-cigarettes vary from Rs 300 to Rs 7,000. Apparently, the ‘coolness’ factor associated with the product is what makes it popular among the youth.
The court hearing for the ban is fixed for 4th October, followed by another court hearing on 7th October.