The first offense can result in imprisonment for one year and / or a fine of Rs 1L; it goes up to 3 years and Rs 5L for the repetition

NEW DELHI

A day after New York became the second US state to ban e-cigarettes, the Union Cabinet led by the Prime Minister on Wednesday Narendra Modi put a strict ban on the manufacture, sale, import, export, distribution and advertising of Electronic cigarettes in India. Violations will be a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment of up to one year or a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh or both for the first offense and imprisonment of up to three years and a fine of up to Rs 5 lakh for a subsequent offense, the finance minister announced Nirmala Sitharaman.

The owners of the existing stocks have been ordered to declare them and deposit them suo motu at the nearest police station as soon as the ordinance comes into force. The local police sub-inspector is designated as the officer authorized to take action under the ordinance. Storing electronic cigarettes will also be punishable by imprisonment of up to six months or a fine of up to Rs 50,000 or both.

The move has been criticized by the Association of Vapers India (AVI) and other groups promoting safer alternatives to tobacco and cigarettes. According to the World Health Organization, India is the second largest consumer of traditional tobacco products with up to 35% of adults consuming it in one form or another. The pro e-cigarette lobby said the latest move was a clear indication that “the government is trying to protect the cigarette industry, rather than being guided by health concerns.”


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