Parliament passes bill to ban e-cigarettes

Parliament on Monday passed a bill prohibiting the production, trade, transport, storage and advertisement of electronic cigarettes in the country.

The Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes Bill, 2019, was passed in Rajya Sabha with a voice vote. It was passed in Lok Sabha earlier.

The government had issued an ordinance to ban e-cigarettes in September. The new law would replace the ordinance.

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said the government has brought in the bill in order to control the problem at the onset before it becomes too big to handle.

"All my life, I have fought against tobacco lobby. You (members) should not have any suspicion about our intentions. We want to nip this problem in the bud," Vardhan said in the Rajya Sabha while replying to various queries of the opposition members.

Once the consumer base of a product becomes big, like in the case of regular tobacco products and alcohol, it is not easy to control the situation, he added.

Vardhan said it was important to being in the ordinance in September as big companies were gearing up to launch their products in the country.

"The same tobacco companies are also promoting e-cigarettes..as conventional business is going down, these companies are now promoting new methods like e-cigarettes...," he added. It is easy for children to get addicted to e-cigarettes, so urgent steps were required, the minister said.

"So, there is no vested interest. We are not guided by tobacco companies. We have brought this bill with most sincere and pious intentions. It is very important to take care of the health of our children," he added.

(with news agency inputs)