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  • Akansha Srivastava

"E-CIGARETTES IN INDIA: THE LEGAL PERSPECTIVE AND ONGOING CHALLENGES"

Updated: Jan 16

Author: Akansha Srivastava

Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies

INTRODUCTION

E-cigarettes or electronic cigarettes such as vapes etc. are even ten to hundred times more harmful to human health as compared to normal cigarettes. Despite having knowledge of the said fact people in India especially youth and teenagers continue using vapes etc. in large and large numbers. People are dying at such young ages because of the health hazards of electronic cigarettes. Continuing this further in this paper we are going to study the legal perspective on the use of E-cigarettes in India and the laws made for the same such as the act which banned the use of electronic cigarettes which was passed in the year 2019 the Prohibition of electronic cigarettes act 2019 and its effectiveness in the country.

WHAT IS VAPING?

Vaping is a process in which a device called vape is used which is filled with certain harmful substances and upon heating it produces certain amount of vapor which is inhaled and it creates a sort of intoxication. Vaping is illegal in India. It is banned because it contains certain harmful chemicals and toxic substances which can turn fatal upon excessive consumption.

Vaping was initially introduced as a potential alternative to traditional cigarette smoking, with the idea that it might be a less harmful way for people to consume nicotine. Some individuals have used vaping as a means to quit smoking traditional cigarettes, as it allows them to gradually reduce their nicotine intake[i].

However, there are ongoing debates and concerns about the safety and health effects of vaping. While vaping is generally considered to be less harmful than smoking traditional cigarettes, it is not without risks. The long-term health effects of vaping are still being studied, and there have been cases of severe lung injuries and other health problems associated with vaping, particularly when people use black-market or illicit vaping products.

BAN OF E-CIGARETTES AND VAPING IN INDIA

The sale, production, distribution, import, export, advertisement, and use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are prohibited in India. The ban includes all forms of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) and e-hookahs. Violation of the ban on e-cigarettes can lead to legal penalties, including fines and imprisonment. The ban is enforced at both the central and state levels[ii].

The prohibition on e-cigarettes is primarily based on an advisory by the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and an ordinance promulgated in 2019. The Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Transport, Sale, Distribution, Storage, and Advertisement) Ordinance, 2019, amended the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) to include e-cigarettes. While e-cigarettes are banned, approved nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) for smoking cessation, such as nicotine gums and patches, are not included in the ban. These products are regulated separately and are available for those who wish to quit smoking.

THE PROHIBITION OF ELECTRONIC CIGARETTES ORDINANCE, 2019

The Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Transport, Sale, Distribution, Storage, and Advertisement) Ordinance, 2019[iii], is a legislative measure enacted by the Government of India to prohibit various aspects related to electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) and other forms of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS). The ordinance was promulgated on September 18, 2019, and it amends the existing legal framework related to tobacco products in India. It is aimed at addressing the concerns surrounding the use of e-cigarettes, particularly among young people.

The ordinance prohibits the production, manufacture, import, export, transport, sale, distribution, storage, and advertisement of e-cigarettes in India. Violation of the provisions of the ordinance can result in penalties, including fines and imprisonment. The severity of penalties can vary depending on the nature and extent of the violation.The ordinance applies to all forms of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), which include e-cigarettes, e-hookahs, and similar devices that deliver nicotine in vaporized form. The ordinance also specifically bans the advertisement of e-cigarettes, both directly and indirectly, to prevent the promotion of these products. The ordinance amends the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), 2003, which is the primary legislation governing tobacco products in India. The amendments introduced through the ordinance incorporate e-cigarettes within the scope of COTPA and its regulatory framework.

VAPING AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH

Vaping, which involves inhaling and exhaling aerosol produced by e-cigarettes or similar devices, is a relatively new phenomenon, and research on its long-term health effects is still evolving. While the focus has primarily been on the respiratory and cardiovascular effects of vaping, there is also growing concern about its potential impact on reproductive health. Some studies have suggested that vaping could have negative effects on male reproductive health. Vaping liquids often contain nicotine, which has been shown to affect sperm motility, morphology, and DNA integrity[iv]. These factors can potentially contribute to reduced fertility in men. Also, Nicotine and other chemicals found in vaping products could potentially disrupt hormonal balance in both males and females. Hormonal imbalances can impact fertility and reproductive health, including menstrual irregularities and decreased sperm quality.

Vaping during pregnancy is a concern due to potential harm to the developing foetus. Nicotine exposure during pregnancy has been linked to preterm birth, low birth weight, and developmental issues in the baby. Additionally, some of the chemicals in vaping aerosols may cross the placenta and harm foetal development. Nicotine and other harmful substances from vaping products can be present in breast milk, potentially affecting infant health and development if the mother vapes while breastfeeding.

CONCLUSION

Thus, the usage of E cigarettes is banned in India after the implementation of The Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes Ordinance, 2019. The law was enacted in the interest of public health and to protect people from harm. Though, it has been over four years since passing of the Ordinance but we cannot clearly say that the battle is over yet as since the passing of the ordinance it has not been fully implemented in full force. Though our government is taking regular steps in order to combat the usage of E cigarettes and making youth free of consumption of such products and vaping but loopholes still persist in the whole implementation process. Thus, there is a long road ahead in order to achieve the sole purpose of the ordinance i.e., the day when the youth of the country will completely stop the usage and consumption of E cigarettes.

REFERENCES [i] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9833272/ [ii] https://www.cnbctv18.com/healthcare/e-cigarettes-pros-and-cons-vaping-guide-on-health-dilemma-indian-laws-banning-it-17365671.htm#:~:text=E%2Dcigarettes%20were%20banned%20in,advertisement)%20of%20e%2Dcigarettes. [iii] The Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Transport, Sale, Distribution, Storage and Advertisement) Act, 2019 [iv] https://primelegal.in/2023/09/10/tobacco-control-laws-in-india/#:~:text=The%20sale%20of%20tobacco%20products%20is%20prohibited,under%20the%20age%20of%2018.&text=The%20law%20prohibits%20the%20production,the%20use%20of%20e%2Dcigarettes.&text=The%20sale%20of%20heated%20tobacco%20products%20(HTPs)%20is%20prohibited.

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