After vaping-related deaths in the US and after a high school student in Canada was diagnosed with a severe respiratory illness, the Indian government has decided to ban e-cigarettes.
India is not the first country to ban this technology. Indeed, two US states (New York is one of them), Brazil and Thailand have already prohibited these products. Flavoured e-cigarettes became famous only a few years ago and seemed to represent a healthy alternative to classic tobacco cigarettes. Although they don’t contain 7,000 chemicals present in tobacco smoke, their side-effects are not still fully known.
As the Indian government stated, this political move aims to protect young people, among whom ‘vaping’ has become particularly in vogue. India’s health ministry said: “These novel products come with attractive appearances and multiple flavours and their use has increased exponentially and acquired epidemic proportions in developed countries, especially among youth and children”.
Even India’s finance minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, supported the motion: “The decision was made keeping in mind the impact that e-cigarettes have on the youth of today”. Although the ban covers the production, importing and advertising of e-cigarettes but not the use of them, the decision could affect the Indian economy and e-cigarettes companies, since India has more than 100 million adult smokers, who are potential e-cigarettes clients.
Nonetheless, this decision has been taken and the government will be strict with offenders, who could face up to three years’ jail.