Parliament has passed the Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes Bill, 2019, with the Rajya Sabha approving it today after an elaborate discussion. The Lok Sabha has already passed the bill. Minister for Health and Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan told the Upper House that the legislation is aimed at ending the menace of e-cigarettes at the beginning itself. He reasoned that controlling any social evil after allowing it to grow would be challenging.
The Minister asserted that the ordinance brought earlier on e-cigarettes was with pious intentions to wean away the country’s youth from the harmful substance. Dr Harsh Vardhan added that 28 per cent of the people in India are now using one or other forms of tobacco, therefore, an outright ban on all tobacco products at this stage would be challenging. He said controlling the spread of e-cigarettes at this stage is a must since they come in several flavours and appealing manners, to attract vulnerable segments.
The Minister said global tobacco companies have gone into the manufacture of e-cigarettes as the conventional cigarette industry is facing a decline in sales and turnover. He also warned that e-cigarette is not a tobacco product but has the ability to bring serious health complications. He also said the intention of the bill is not to criminalize users but to prevent the availability of e-cigarettes and their use in India.
A total of 28 members participated in the discussion on the bill in the Rajya Sabha. The Prohibition of the Electronic Cigarettes Bill, 2019 bans production, import, export, transport, sale, distribution, storage and advertisements of e-cigarettes with stringent punishments for any violation. It replaces the ordinance promulgated on the 18th of September this year.