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India Announces Widespread Ban Of E-Cigarettes

A roadside tobacco shop vendor displays an e-cigarette in New Delhi, India, Wednesday. India's government has decided to ban the products.
Manish Swarup

The Indian government announced Wednesday a sweeping ban on electronic cigarette products. The decision was made with the intention of protecting young people from becoming addicted to nicotine.

The Cabinet approved the ordinance, which prohibits the manufacture, sale, storage and advertisement of all e-cigarette products.

Dr. Harsh Vardhan, the Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, called the ban a "quantum jump towards healthy living."

Penalties include fines and jail terms of up to three years for repeat offenders. The ban takes effect immediately. Those with stocks of e-cigarettes are being told to declare and deposit them with the police.

E-cigarettes were banned in some parts of India before the ordinance was approved, following a government health advisory sent in August 2018.

In May 2019, the Indian Council of Medical Research published a paper recommending a complete ban.

The ordinance paints vaping products as a gateway to further tobacco consumption, something the Indian government has been looking to lower. In 2017, the World Health Organization reported that nearly 30 percent of adults in India use tobacco products.

Milind Deora, a former Minister for Telecom, IT, Posts, Shipping and Ports, called the ban "half-baked" in a tweet. He asked the government to take the next step and ban all tobacco products.

Paolo Zialcita is an intern on NPR's News Desk.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Lauren Frayer covers India for NPR News. In June 2018, she opened a new NPR bureau in India's biggest city, its financial center, and the heart of Bollywood—Mumbai.
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