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Tobacco lobby hits back at govt over e-cigarette stubbing plan

The ban will lead to growth of illicit trade and large scale smuggling of products

Avishek Rakshit  |  Kolkata 

Tobacco lobby hits back at govt over e-cigarette stubbing plan

The trade has protested at the central government’s reported idea to e-cigarettes, following the suggestion of a committee.

Institute of India (TII) represents a little over 90 per cent of the legal cigarette trade. An official from said a on the legal business of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) would not only jeopardise all the investments made by cigarette to develop such products but lead to growth of large-scale smuggling of these products.

The official said e-cigarettes, as is commonly referred to, are gaining much popularity in the global market as an alternative to the traditional product. It has led global major to double its stock of in Japan. 

“Even then, demand has outstripped the supply there. The US and UK and the European Union are increasingly adopting this product. It is still in a nascent stage in India but has immense potential,” the official told Business Standard.

An is a battery-operated device which burns liquid nicotine, propylene glycol, water, glycerin and flavour, without any smoke, to give a consumer a feel of smoking a traditional cigarette.

Following an expert committee’s conclusion that have cancer causing properties, and in that sense are not an alternative to a traditional cigarette, the Union government is considering outlawing these products. 

officials reply that the is heated and not burnt in ENDS; as a result, the level of harmful chemicals are significantly reduced as compared to cigarette smoke.

claims it has been able to convert 2.9 million smokers from cigarettes to their brand, IQOS. Indian major ITC has come up with Eon, an producing vapour and thus smoke-free.

Quoting figures from Euromonitor International and World Health Organisation, says the global market for in 2015 was estimated at $10 billion. By 2030, it would be in excess of $60 billion. Realising the potential, cigarette manufacturers in India are in the process of introducing the product under different brand names.

“Huge investments have been globally made to develop and market such products,” the official told this newspaper.

said prohibition on would put India at an enormous structural disadvantage versus countries that have espoused a balanced regulatory policy approach on the category. It notes that the 160 signatories in the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Control, which includes America, Britain and EU have not imposed any prohibition on “In fact, Canada and New Zealand, which had earlier prohibited ENDS, have reversed the decision and allowed these products to be made available,” stated.

Further, say officials, if are banned, it will lead to no research and development on such products in the country. Thus, leading to only foreign entities being able to patent the technology and the associated requisites.

“It is obvious that a in India would stop all research and innovation in this area by the domestic industry, with no intellectual property being owned by the country, putting India at an enormous disadvantage vis-à-vis countries which would have not prohibited ENDS,” a official said.

First Published: Sat, August 05 2017. 00:52 IST