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Parliament nod to Bill banning e-cigarettes

The Tribune 2019-12-03 07:46:00

With the Rajya Sabha giving its nod today, Parliament has passed a Bill which seeks to prohibit the production, trade, transport, storage and advertisement of electronic cigarettes in the country.

Rajya Sabha passed the Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes Bill, 2019, with voice vote, as the Lok Sabha had given its approval on the legislation last week.

Now as the passed Bill gets the Presidential assent, it will replace the ordinance issued by the government in September this year banning e-cigarettes.

Union health & Family Welfare Minister Harsg Vardhan said, “We have done it with very pious intention. There is no vested interest.” His clarification came after a number of MPs, while participating in the debate, expressed apprehensions that the government had brought the Bill under pressure from tobacco lobby and insisted that the ban should be extended to raw tobacco and conventional cigarettes too.

The minister said that he would be the happiest person on the earth if tobacco could be banned completely. The Bill defines electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) as electronic devices that heat a substance, which may contain nicotine and other chemicals, to create vapour for inhalation.

The Bill provides for imprisonment of up to one year, or a fine of up to one lakh rupees, or both to a first time violator. For any subsequent offence, it says that the crime will be punishable with an imprisonment of up to three years, along with a fine of up to Rs 5 lakh.

Under the Bill, no person is allowed to use any place for the storage of any stock of e-cigarettes. If any person stores any stock of e-cigarettes, he will be imprisoned for up to six months, or slapped with a fine of up to Rs 50,000, or both.

If an authorised officer believes that any provision of the Bill has been contravened, he can search any place where trade, production, storage or advertising of e-cigarettes is being undertaken.

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