The Rajasthan government has put a ban on production, distribution, advertisement and sale of e-cigarettes in the state.
What are e-cigarettes?
Electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes, e-vaporizers, or electronic nicotine delivery systems, are battery-operated devices that people use to inhale an aerosol, which typically contains nicotine (though not always), flavorings, and other chemicals.
Six states—Karnataka, Kerala, Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir, Mizoram and Maharashtra—had already banned e-cigarettes under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, and Food Safety & Standards (Prohibition and Restriction on Sales) Regulation, 2011. However, in Rajasthan, e-cigarettes can not only be ordered online but also be bought from some selected shops. The congress government in state had promised in its election manifesto during assembly elections 2019 that it will take steps to curb use of tobacco among youths.
The government has banned both online and offline sale, storage, production, distribution and advertisement of e-cigarettes in Rajasthan. The decision was announced on occasion of the World No Tobacco Day which is observed on 31 May 2019.
The State government had constituted a committee to do a detailed study on rising use of e-cigarettes which highlighted that youths are being misled by advertisements of e-cigarettes as a better alternative to tobacco cigarettes.
Researchers have found that initially many youngsters start smoking e-cigarettes and gradually shift to tobacco cigarettes later in life. Thus the ban will be an important step to curb e-cigarette addiction among youths and will prove effective to discourage them from consumption.
The e-cigarettes ban is a surprise move in a state where sale of tobacco products and cigarettes is allowed. Since smoking tobacco has been found to be more dangerous than e-cigarette this raises questions whether ban is placed to safeguard interests of tobacco lobby. Also, on one hand public smoking of cigarettes is banned in state but no steps have been taken to ban chewing of tobacco.