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India bans e-cigarettes on flights and airports


After imposing a ban on the production, manufacture and advertisement of e-cigarettes or electronic cigarettes in the country last September, the government has now decided to ban the carrying of e-cigarettes on aircraft.

Aviation security regulator the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) in a circular said that e-cigarettes will not be allowed in both domestic and international flights as well as at airports.

“It has been decided that e-cigarettes including all forms of Electronic Nicotine Delivery System (ENDS), Heat Not Burn Products, e-Hookah and the like devices, by whatever name called and whatever shape, size or form it may have, but does not include any product licensed under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940 is prohibited from production, manufacture, import, export, transport, sale, distribution, storage and advertisement in the premises of aerodromes/aircraft and from taking out of India to a place outside India or bringing into India from a place outside India  — including use of e-cigs — has been prohibited,” said a BCAS order, which was issued on January 10, 2020.

The order will come into effect from the date of the issue.

The government imposed the ban under the Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Transport, Sale, Distribution, Storage and Advertisement) Act, which was passed in December 2019.

The Act defines e-cigarettes as devices that heat a substance, with or without nicotine and flavours, to create an aerosol for inhalation. 

It also proposed a jail term for offenders up to one year and a fine of Rs 1 lakh. In the case of repeat offenders, the jail term is increased to 3 years with Rs 5 lakh fine.

The development served as a major setback to international e-cigarette makers such as Juul Labs and Philip Moris, who had been eying the Indian market for expansion. 

Juul had also recruited people for senior executive positions in India to head government relations.

Several tobacco-control activists hail the decision by the government saying e-cigarettes may lead to nicotine addiction among youth.

India has over 100 million adult tobacco smokers and about 9 lakh people die every year due to tobacco-related diseases.

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