Gujarat is moving to join the Indian states where e-cigarettes and similar devices are prohibited.
The state government is preparing to ban electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) in an impending Legislative Assembly session due to begin July 2nd. Justifying the move, Minister of Home Law and Justice Pradipsinh Jadeja said “we have observed a disturbing trend wherein youths are purchasing the e-cigarettes online, as there is no specific law which bans their sale or consumption in the state.” Jadeja went on to describe e-cigarette use as “a dangerous form of addiction which is becoming popular among youths and even young children,” To this end, the Ministry is proposing an amendment to tobacco control legislation to include e-cigarettes as part of the statute.
Gujarat follows in the footsteps of Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Jammu and Kashmir, Maharashtra, Mizoram, Puducherry, Punjab, Rajasthan Tamil Nadu, and Uttar Pradesh, all of which have acted to ban ENDS. The state-level bans come as part of a broader national effort to eliminate the devices from India.
The groundwork for the prohibition of ENDS was laid in August 2017, when the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare directed state governments to implement bans on e-cigarettes. A number complied, although the Delhi High Court subsequently ruled against the directive.
Since then, the Drug and Technical Advisory Board (DTAB) has reclassified ENDS as tobacco cessation products, meaning they now fall under the purview of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940. This will make it easier for the Ministry to ban the production of ENDS in India and also to prohibit their being imported.
Much of India’s tobacco control efforts have centred on electronic devices in recent months. 28.6 percent of Indian adults use some form of tobacco product, Health Issues India reported on World No Tobacco Day this year. Trying to minimise the influence of ENDS as a gateway into nicotine addiction and other forms of smoking looks set to be enshrined into the anti-tobacco agenda, both at the national and state levels.