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The Lok Sabha today passed a bill that seeks to ban the usage of electronic cigarettes in the country. Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said the bill was an urgent necessity to protect the youth from a new intoxication being promoted by companies as a new “fashion”.

The Bill is called The Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Transport, Sale, Distribution, Storage and Advertisement) Bill, 2019. It seeks to replace an ordinance issued on September 18.

After it takes effect, manufacture, import or sale of E-cigarettes in India will be a crime under the law of the land. The bill found all-round support in the House and most MPs were of the opinion that tobacco-based cigarettes should also be similarly banned. The House also rejected several amendments moved by opposition members.

On September 18, the government had taken the ordinance route to ban e-cigarettes with a punishment of one-year imprisonment and a fine one lakh rupee for first-time offenders. The decision was taken to protect the people, especially the youth and children, from the risk of addiction through E-cigarettes.

“E-cigarettes were promoted as a way to get people out of their smoking habits but reports have shown that many people are not using it as weaning mechanism but are addicted to it,” Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had then said.

The Members of Parliament said that international data reflected a rising trend of young children taking to e-cigarettes and it is important to ban the product to protect the younger generations. The US Food and Drug Administration (US-FDA) is currently investigating reported lung injuries and their relation to vaping using e-cigarettes. It has issued multiple warnings encouraging discontinuation of e-cigarette use in the US.

Quoting a media report, a Member of Parliament (MP) stated that an estimated $1.9 lakh worth e-cigarettes had been imported to India. Already, thirty countries across the world have banned e-cigarettes and ninety-eight more countries have tried to regulate its use one or the other way.

The MPs said that international data reflected a rising trend of young children taking to e-cigarettes and it is important to ban the product to protect the younger generations from further harm. The US Food and Drug Administration (US-FDA) is currently investigating reported lung injuries and their relation to vaping using e-cigarettes. It has issued multiple warnings encouraging discontinuation of e-cigarette use in the US.

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