Calling for blockage of US-based e-cigarette maker Juul entry in India, the health ministry has in a letter to commerce secretary asked to prevent entry of such products as it would undermine govt tobacco-control efforts.
Juul’s products are harmful and addictive. The young generation would be particularly vulnerable to such products, said Health Secretary Preeti Sudan letter quoted by a Reuters report.
It further appealed for necessary measures to be taken to prevent entry of such products in our markets. The letter has also been sent to PMO.
Juul had, early this year, reportedly planned to launch its products in India. Two months ago, the company had also recruited Uber India executive Rachit Ranjan as senior public policy strategist and Mastercard executive Rohan Mishra to head government relations.
The firm is looking to hire three more executives in the country.
The company sees India as one of the lucrative markets for expansion of its products.
The company is open also to dialogue with lawmakers and regulators in order to help switch adult smokers in India, according to Juul spokeswoman Victoria Davis.
The e-cigarettes makers say they are far less harmful because users do not inhale the dangerous matter taken into the lungs through cigarette smoking.
Indian cigarette market, which is estimated to be worth $10 billion, is currently dominated by ITC and Godfrey Phillips
As per an estimate, there are over 100 million adult smokers in India. It looks to provide this large market with a viable alternative to combustible cigarettes.
However, tobacco-control activists are opposed to the idea of e-cigarettes. It will further result in nicotine addiction and a rise in tobacco consumption, they said.
Around close to 1 million people die every year due to tobacco-borne illness in India.
Last year, to curb tobacco consumption, the health ministry had asked states to stop the sale or import of e-cigarettes. About eight states have banned e-cigarettes in the country.