E cigarettes Current Affairs - 2020

Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes Bill, 2019 passed by Parliament

The Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Transport, Sale, Distribution, Storage, and Advertisement) Bill, 2019 was passed by Parliament on 3 December 2019. It was introduced in Lok Sabha by Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Harsh Vardhan. The Bill which seeks to prohibits the production, storage, trade, and advertisement of electronic cigarettes, replaces an Ordinance promulgated in September 2019.

Key Features of Bill

Electronic cigarettes: It defines electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes– as electronic devices that heat a substance, which may contain nicotine and other chemicals, to create vapour for inhalation as well as contain different flavours.

Banning of e-cigarettes: It prohibits production/ manufacture/ sale/ transport/ import/ export/ transport/ distribution/ advertisement of e-cigarettes in India.  Any person not adhering to this provision will be punishable with imprisonment of up to 1 year, or a fine of up to 1 lakh rupees, or both and for any subsequent offence, the person will be punishable with an imprisonment of up to 3 years, along with a fine of up to 5 lakh rupees.

Storage of e-cigarettes: No person is allowed to use any place for storage of any stock of e-cigarettes and in case, if any person stores any stock of it then the person will be punishable with an imprisonment of up to 6 months, or a fine of up to Rs.50000 (or both).

Authorised Officer: Once the Bill comes into force after presidential assent, then, the owners of existing stocks of e-cigarettes will have to declare and deposit these stocks at nearest office of an authorised officer, who may be, a police officer (at least at the level of a sub-inspector), or any other officer as notified by central/ state government.

Powers of authorised officers: If an authorised officer believes that any provision of the Bill has been contravened, he can search any place where production/ trade/ storage / advertising of e-cigarettes is being undertaken and can also seize any record/ property connected to e-cigarettes found during search.  He may also take the person connected with the offence into custody.

Cabinet approves promulgation of Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes Ordinance 2019

Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the Promulgation of Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (production, manufacture, import, export, transport, sale, distribution, storage and advertisement) Ordinance, 2019. The decision is being seen as a major health and wellness initiative for the country.

Key Highlights

Upon promulgation of Ordinance-

Any manufacturing, production, import, export, transport, distribution or advertisement (including online advertisement), sale (including online sale) of e-cigarettes shall be a cognizable offence punishable.

Committing the offence might lead to an imprisonment of up to 1 year or fine up to Rs.1 lakh or both for 1st offence and imprisonment of up to 3 years and fine up to Rs.5 lakh for a subsequent offence. Storing of e-cigarettes shall also be punishable with an imprisonment up to 6 months or fine up to Rs.50,000 or both.

On the date of commencement of Ordinance, the owners of existing stocks of e-cigarettes will have to suomoto declare as well as deposit these stocks with nearest police station.

Under the Ordinance, Sub-Inspector of Police has been designated as Authorized Officer to take action. However, Central or State Governments may also designate any other equivalent officer(s) as Authorized Officer for enforcement of provisions of Ordinance.

What are Electronic-cigarettes?

E-Cigarettes are battery-operated devices that produce aerosol (mist) (commonly called as vapor) by heating a solution containing nicotine. This nicotine is the addictive substance in combustible cigarettes. E-Cigarettes include all forms of Heat Not Burn Products (HNBP), Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), e-Hookah and other similar devices.

These novel products come with attractive appearances and multiple flavours to attract their potential customers especially youth and children. Thereby, their use has increased exponentially especially among youth and children and has acquired epidemic proportions in developed countries as well.