The Indian health ministry hopes to ban e-cigarettes on the grounds that they are ‘drugs’.
The government was unable to ban them under cigarette and tobacco regulations but has managed to find a route under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act (DCA).
The ministry also plans to ban the import of the devices.
Minutes from a recent meeting read:
“ENDS, including e-cigarettes, heat-not burn devices, vape, e-sheesha, e-nicotine, flavoured hookah, and similar products, are used as a tobacco (especially smoking forms such as cigarettes) cessation product, and functions for nicotine delivery for reasons, including nicotine de-addiction.”
In February this year, health secretary Preeti Sudan wrote to the federal commerce secretary calling for the government to block JUUL and similar products from entering the country.
“Novel products such as ‘JUUL’ are harmful and addictive and could potentially undermine our tobacco control efforts.
“It is felt that the young generation would be particularly vulnerable to such products and gimmicks.”
Juul spokeswoman Victoria Davis said the company was ‘open to dialogue with lawmakers and regulators in order to help switch’ to less-harmful alternatives.
India is home to 12 percent of the world’s smokers, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). E-cigarettes present a huge opportunity for harm-reduction.
However, the tobacco industry generates nearly two percent of the nation’s tax revenue.