India Bans E-Cigarettes as Backlash against Vaping Gains Pace Globally
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – India has banned the import, sale and production of e-cigarettes after a global backlash against vaping devices gained pace.
The ban comes a day after New York became the second US state to forbid flavored e-cigarettes following a string of vaping-linked deaths.
'The decision was made keeping in mind the impact that e-cigarettes have on the youth of today,' India's Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Wednesday, The Daily Mail reported.
She added that e-cigarettes were becoming an increasing health risk, as they were being used as a 'style statement' and not as a tobacco cessation product.
E-cigarettes do not 'burn' but instead heat up a liquid - tasting of everything from bourbon to bubblegum and which usually contains nicotine - that turns into vapor and is inhaled.
The vapor is missing the estimated 7,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke but does contain a number of substances which could potentially be harmful.
Although few Indians vape at present, the Indian ban also cuts off a vast potential market of 1.3 billion consumers for makers of e-cigarettes.
Tobacco firms have been investing heavily in the technology to compensate for falling demand for cigarettes due to high taxes and public smoking bans, particularly in the West.
In 2018, Altria - the US maker of brands such as Marlboro and Chesterfield - splashed out almost $13 billion on a stake in one of the biggest e-cigarette makers, Juul.
The ban will be imposed through an executive order, which is typically issued in India as an emergency measure when parliament is not in session.
It can lapse if it is not approved when lawmakers convene again in the next session, which will most likely be held in November.
A few Indian states have already banned e-cigarettes, although the restrictions have been ineffective since online sale of vaping products continue.
The national ban comes as New York became the second US state - after Michigan - to ban flavored e-cigarettes on Tuesday.
Nearly 400 people across the US have been stricken with a lung illness which is potentially vaping-related, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A 40-year-old man in California this week became the seventh to die after a national outbreak of the lung disease, it was confirmed on Monday.
The US Department of Health pledged to provide retailers with a two-week grace period before conducting site visits to enforce the ban from October 7.
Some 3.6 million middle and high school students in the United States used vaping products in 2018, an increase of 1.5 million on the year before.
The products have been criticized worldwide, after it was proven that vaping is as harmful as regular cigarettes, according to a report by The Guardian.
Denmark's health authority has also urged citizens to avoid the tobacco substitute, 'but particularly children, youth and women who are pregnant or nursing'.