Kolkata court hearing the case challenging the prohibition of e-cigarettes imposed by the government has temporarily relaxed the provision which demanded the e-cigarette sellers submit their stock to the authorities for discarding on 1st October. The next hearing has been scheduled on 19th November.
The case filed by e-cigarettes importers Plume Vapour and Woke Vapors were the initial legal tests faced by the government post-e-cigarettes ban. In a statement, Woke Vapors said that it would continue to work on the case until the state regulates the market, instead of altogether banning the product.
The center has been attempting to bar ENDS (Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems ) since last year. The Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, after a series of actions and steps on the products, announced the ban of e-cigarettes “with immediate effect” on 18th September.
Court’s attack on Juul
A top government lawyer, while defending the government’s move to ban e-cigarettes in a Kolkata court, said that the upcoming launch of Juul, the US-based electronic cigarette company, was a factor in the Indian government’s decision to ban the sale of ENDS or vaping products.
Juul has planned to launch its vaping products in the Indian market in the last quarter of 2019 and had even hired many senior executives in recent months. Aman Lekhi, the additional solicitor general, remarked while defending the ban, “What was impending was a nationwide launch of Juul … it (the state) chose to act immediately.”
In February 2019, the health ministry also wrote to one of the top officials in the department of commerce and industry, urging to block the firm’s entry into the country. Earlier, the government stated that e-cigarettes, vapors and ENDS products manufactured by firms like Juul were harmful and there was a chance that it could even hamper the tobacco control efforts made by the government so far.
Some reports even suggested that tobacco giant Philip Morris International, the manufacturer of Marlboro cigarettes, also planned on launching their e-cigarette. Additionally, Lekhi also stated that the vape’s novelty and attractiveness would pose a hazard to public health as it would lure more customers. Consequently, the state decided to cut down such products from its roots.