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ENDS promoters question need for ordinance to ban e-cigarettes

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Press Trust of India New Delhi
An umbrella body of trade representatives promoting Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), including e-cigarettes, on Thursday questioned the need for rushing through an ordinance to ban such devices in the country.
Reacting to reports about the Union Health Ministry working on an ordinance to ban the production, import, distribution and sale of electronic cigarettes, the trade body alleged "serious deficiency in the logic" of doing so for an entire category.
"The issue of banning e-cigarettes has found no favour with the courts. Thereafter there have been repeated attempts to try and classify these as drugs, which also have found no basis in the law. To resort to an ordinance suggests a pre-meditated decision that bypasses all norms and processes. This is unprecedented," Trade Representatives of ENDS convenor Praveen Rikhy said in a statement.
A draft ordinance, The Prohibition of E-cigarettes Ordinance 2019, seeking to ban the production, import, distribution and sale of electronic cigarettes and proposing jail term for violators will be sent to a Group of Ministers (GoM) to examine its various aspects.
In the draft ordinance, the health ministry has proposed a maximum imprisonment of up to one year along with a penalty of Rs 1 lakh against first-time violators.
The ministry has recommended a maximum of up to three years of jail and a penalty of Rs 5 lakh for repeat offenders.
Reacting strongly to an ICMR report which has recommended a "complete ban" on ENDS, saying their use can initiate nicotine addiction among non-smokers, the body alleged the report was a compendium of third party research and that the ICMR had absolutely no ownership of any documented research of its own.
The voluntary association of Trade Representatives of ENDS in India (TRENDS) comprising importers, distributors, and marketers of such "alternative" smoking devices had earlier suggested that the ministry initiate a consultative process so that opinion of all stakeholders can be heard and facts placed in the correct perspective.
More than 3,000 users of these devices had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently, requesting him to legalise ENDS, claiming their health has improved significantly after they switched to vaping from smoking conventional cigarettes.
Some states, including Punjab, Karnataka, Kerala, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Rajasthan and Mizoram have already banned use and sale of e-cigarettes, vape and e-hookah.
Over 1,000 doctors from 24 states and three UTs in April had urged Prime Minister Modi to enforce a ban on ENDS before it becomes an "epidemic in India", especially among the youth.

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First Published: Aug 29 2019 | 1:25 PM IST

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