The Congress party on Wednesday welcomed the Centre's decision to ban e-cigarettes but claimed the decision was taken to appease the United States.
Asking if the government will prohibit the production and use of traditional cigarettes containing tobacco, Congress spokesperson Ajay Maken said: "The ban on electronic cigarettes is a good decision. We welcome it."
"But we would like to ask the government whether they ban other cigarettes and Pan Masala? If e-cigarettes can be banned, why cannot other cigarettes and Pan Masala be banned," added Maken, who was addressing a press conference.
Claiming that the Centre took the decision to appease US President Donald Trump, Maken said: "Two days ago, Trump said e-cigarettes should be banned. Had the government taken the step before his comments, we could have thought that the move was not aimed at appeasing Trump."
The Congress' response came hours after Union Cabinet approved an ordinance for a comprehensive ban on e-cigarettes, which covers their production, manufacture, import, export, transport, sale, distribution, storage and advertisement.
Violations are a cognisable offence punishable with an imprisonment of up to one year or fine up to Rs 1 lakh or both for the first offence and imprisonment of up to three years and fine up to Rs 5 lakh for a subsequent offence.
The storage of electronic-cigarettes shall also be punishable with imprisonment up to six months or fine up to Rs 50,000 or both.
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