Punjab government has issued notices to various e-commerce portals for allegedly violating the Drugs and Cosmetics Act by selling e-cigarettes.
On the directions of Health Minister Surjit Kumar Jiyani, State Tobacco Control Cell has issued notices to e-commerce portals to immediately stop selling e-cigarettes, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner, Hussan Lal said.
"Court cases have been initiated in Ludhiana, Hoshiarpur and SAS Nagar districts against vendors selling e-cigarettes. The cases have been registered under various sections of Drugs and Cosmetics Act as nicotine was tested positive in all the cases," he said.
Punjab was the first state where e-cigarettes have been declared as "unapproved drug" by State Drug Controller since 2013, Lal said.
E-cigarettes are Electronic Nicotine Delivery System (ENDS) devices containing nicotine in chemical form which is highly addictive and lethal under Drugs and Cosmetics Act.
Nicotine is allowed to be manufactured only as Nicotine Gum/Lozenges, 2mg and 4mg. Every other product which contain nicotine is unapproved. This is important as minors and youths are buying these addictive and potentially lethal products, he said.
If nicotine is ingested in chemical form by children it can be fatal.
E-cigarettes are available in different flavours like strawberry, chocolate, that lure youths. Nicotine has also been declared as "poison" under the Poison Act framed by Punjab and the violators can also be booked under this, Lal said.
Implementation of Drugs and Cosmetics Act/ Food Safety & Standard Act of India and COTPA is being monitored monthly at state level by Vini Mahajan, Principal Secretary Health & Family Welfare and at district level by Deputy Commissioners, said Rakesh Gupta, Programme Officer of State Tobacco Control Cell.