Nirmala Sitharaman
Union Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister Nirmala Sitharaman addresses during a Cabinet Briefing, in New Delhi on Sep 18, 2019.IANS

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday, September 18, banned e-cigarettes in India with immediate effect, announced Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. This means production, manufacture, import, export, transport, sale, distribution, storage and any advertising related to e-cigarettes are now banned following the cabinet's approval.

While announcing the Narendra Modi-led BJP government's decision to put a blanket ban on e-cigarettes, Sitharaman said that the move will help to protect the population, especially the youth and children, from the risk of addiction through E-cigarettes.

The ban on the sale of e-cigarettes is expected to have a budgetary impact of Rs 2,028 crore. The ban on the sale of e-cigarettes is expected to have a budgetary impact of Rs 2,028 crore. Also, the punishment to be meted out for the first offence by a person would be a one-year imprisonment or a fine of Rs 1 lakh. Repeat offences could lead to a three-year imprisonment or a penalty of Rs 5 lakh or both, said Preeti Sudan, Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Sitharaman also said, "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."

E-cigarette is harmful

Stating that the government would pass an ordinance immediately subject to the President's approval, Sitharaman stated that the Centre would introduce a bill in Parliament in the winter session.

The decision comes after demands from several quarters to ban Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), which includes e-cigarettes, Heat-Not-Burn devices, Vape, e-Sheesha, e-Nicotine and ured Hookah.