Commerce ministry asks health ministry to frame law to ban manufacture, sale of e-cigarettes

  1. The commerce ministry has asked the Health Ministry to frame law banning manufacture and sale e-cigarettes in India. This is because unless it is banned under domestic laws, it would not be possible to put a blanket ban on its import as it would violate global trade norms.
  2. Earlier, health ministry had asked the commerce ministry to issue a notification banning import of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), including e-cigarettes and flavoured hookah.
  3. In August 2018, the health ministry had issued an advisory to all states and Union Territories (UTs) to stop the manufacture, sale and import of ENDS. The direction came in the backdrop of a Delhi High Court judgement where it had rebuked the Central government for its delay in taking appropriate measure to curb the public health from e-cigarettes.
  4. Similar advisory to stop the manufacture, sale and import of ENDS has also been issued recently by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) – the apex drug regulator in India.
  5. ENDS are non-combustible tobacco products. These include e-cigarettes, vapes etc. E-cigarettes are battery- operated devices that do not burn or use tobacco leaves but instead vaporise a solution, which a user then inhales. The solutions contain propylene glycol, nicotine etc. which pose significant health risks, including cancer.
  6. According to WHO’s Global Tobacco Epidemic 2017 report, nearly 30 countries have banned ENDS. Examples include Mauritius, Australia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Brazil, Mexico, Uruguay, Bahrain, Iran, Saudi Arabia and UAE.