New Delhi, September 18
The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved an ordinance for banning production, import, distribution and sale of electronic cigarettes and it proposes a jail term for those violating the provisions, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said.
First-time violators will face a jail term of up to one year and a fine of Rs 1 lakh. For subsequent offences, a jail term of up to three years or a fine of Rs 5 lakh, or both have been prescribed.
Sitharaman, who had headed a Group of Ministers (GoM) on the issue, said the Cabinet decided to ban e-cigarettes and similar products as they pose health risk to people, especially the youth.
Union Health Secretary Preeti Sudan said a debate on whether e- cigarettes and similar products are more harmful than tobacco cigarettes was of little help.
“Why are we debating whether it it more or less harmful...it is a good move to ban it,” she told reporters at the cabinet briefing here.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said it is a preventive step and it is always better to prevent health risks at a later stage of life.
The ordinance will come into force once approved by the President. It will be converted into a bill in the next session of Parliament.
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan is out of the country and was not present in Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting. —PTI
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