India has 106 million adult smokers, second only to China in the world, presenting it a productive market for firms making e-cigarettes.
India has banned the production, import and business sales of electronic cigarettes in a public health judgment that will destroy the expansion plans of companies such as Juul Labs and Philip Morris International in the country.
The ban declared on Wednesday will be forced through an executive order and will include jail duration of up to three years for offenders.
India’s health ministry, which intended the move, had told it was needed to ensure e-cigarettes don’t become an “epidemic” among children and young adults. Several state governments in the country had already prohibited e-cigarettes before the central government’s announcement.
“Considering the seriousness of the result of e-cigarettes on the youth, the cabinet has passed an ordinance to ban e-cigarettes,” Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told a news conference.
- The first offence will be punishable by up to one year in jail or a fine of up to One Lakh rupees ($1,405), or both. For a subsequent offence, the punishment will be imprisonment of up to three years and a fine of up to Five Lakh rupees ($7,028).
- More than nine Lakh people die every year in the country due to tobacco-related illnesses.
If no cigarettes then what?
While stating the ban of e-cigarettes, Nirmala Sitharaman displayed various types of products to the media, including a pack of Juul e-cigarettes.
Juul had strategies to launch its e-cigarette in India and has hired several senior executives in recent months. Philip Morris also has plans to launch its heat-not-burn smoking device in India, Reuters has listed. A spokeswoman for Juul in India refused to comment, the Reuters news agency published, while Philip Morris did not immediately respond to a request by Reuters for comment.
Nicotine – E-cigarettes heat up a liquid – which usually contains nicotine – into a vapour that is breathed.
The smoke is missing most of the estimated 7,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke but does contain a number of substances that could probably be harmful.
Why E-cigarettes launched – E-cigarettes have been started by producers as a more reliable and safer alternative to traditional smoking and as a way to beat the habit.