Parliament passes bill banning e-cigarettes: Know all about it
The e-cigarette bill seeks to prohibit the production, sale, trade, transport, storage and advertisement of electronic cigarettes.
E-Cigarette Bill 2019: The bill that seeks to ban the use, production and storage of e-cigarettes has been passed by the Indian Parliament. The Rajya Sabha passed the bill through a voice vote on December 2, 2019.
The Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes Bill was passed earlier by the Lok Sabha on November 27, 2019. The bill proposes to prohibit the production, sale, trade, transport, storage and advertisement of electronic cigarettes.
The bill seeks to replace an ordinance issued on the same in September 2019. The bill received support from different members of the parliament, cutting across party lines.
E-Cigarette Bill 2019: Key Features
• The e-cigarette bill defines e-cigarettes as electronic devices that heat a substance that may contain nicotine and other chemicals to create vapour for inhalation.
• The e-cigarette bill prohibits manufacturing, production, import, export, distribution, transport, sale, storage or advertisements of the e-smoking devices. The bill has proposed to make the offence punishable with a cash penalty and jail term.
• The bill recommends imprisonment of up to one year or fine of up to Rs 1 lakh or both for first-time violators of the law. For subsequent offences, the bill recommends jail term up to 3 years and a fine of Rs 5 lakh or both.
• The e-cigarette bill also prohibits the storage of e-cigarettes. Under the bill’s provisions, if any person is found storing any stock of e-cigarettes, he will have to face imprisonment for up to six months or pay cash penalty up to Rs 50,000 or both.
• The bill authorizes officials to conduct searches of any place where they believe storage, trade, production or advertising of e-cigarettes is being done.
• Under the bill’s provisions, the owner of the place that has a stock of e-cigarettes should immediately prepare a list of the stock in his possession and submit it to the nearest authorised officer without delay.
E-Cigarette Bill 2019: Opposition
The trade bodies promoting e-cigarettes, the users and other stakeholders of the product have been opposing the decision of the government to ban the alternative smoking devices, saying that the step has been taken to protect the conventional cigarette industry.
Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan, however, defended the move saying that a large portion of India’s youth population was being targeted by the e-cigarette companies. The Minister stated that it was difficult to ban a product once it gains a large user base.
The Health Minister noted that the ban on alternative smoking devices will be highly effective as the e-cigarettes currently do not have a large consumer base in the country. He further stated that the lack of a ban on tobacco cannot be used to justify not banning a new addiction.
The Union Government has set an ambitious goal of eliminating Tuberculosis by 2025. To achieve the same, the government has been working to make all institutions tobacco-free and has been raising awareness regarding the various ills of tobacco.
The Union Government had issued an ordinance, imposing a ban on e-cigarettes on September 18, 2019. The new bill seeks to replace the ordinance.
The opposition, while having no objection to the contents of the bill, stated that it was against the adoption of the ordinance route by the government to pass the bill, as it was not of urgent importance.
The government defended its decision by saying that it had to come out with an ordinance, as 16 states have already banned e-cigarettes.