Ministry of Law and Justice notifies the Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Transport, Sale, Distribution, Storage and Advertisement) Act, 2019, effective from 18th September, 2019

Through a Gazette Notification dated 22nd November 2019, the Lok Sabha has published the Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Transport, Sale, Distribution, Storage and Advertisement) Act, 2019 (“Act”) repealing the Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Transport, Sale, Distribution, Storage and Advertisement) Ordinance, 2019.

The Act is deemed to have come into force on 18th September, 2019.

Background:

The potential impact of new products like Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) on individual and public health are a matter of global concern. Due to their sleek and attractive design, use of flavours that mask the smell and ease of concealment, they have grown tremendously in popularity.

The Indian Council of Medical Research has issued a White paper on Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems and has also recommended a complete ban on e-cigarettes and other Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems based on currently available scientific evidence.

In view of the above recommendations and in the overall interest of public health as envisaged under article 47 of the Constitution, it was necessary to completely prohibit devices like e-cigarettes and the like.

Key takeaways from the Act:

The Act expressly prohibits the productionmanufactureimport, export, transport, sale, distribution, storage and advertisement of electronic cigarettes.

  • Definition of electronic cigarettes:

Electronic cigarettes are defined as electronic device that heats a substance, with or without nicotine and flavours, to create an aerosol for inhalation and includes all forms of Electronic Nicotine Delivery SystemsHeat Not Burn Productse-Hookah and the like devices, by whatever name called and whatever shape, size or form it may have.

However, the definition excludes from its purview any product licensed under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940.

  • Expansion of the purview of sale:

The purview of “sale” under the Act is wide and includes online transfer of property and goods by one person to another, whether for cash or on credit, an agreement for sale, and offer for sale and exposure for sale.

  • Prohibition on Storage:

The Act also prohibits the storage of electronic cigarettes by any owner or occupier who has control over the place. There is a duty cast on the owner or occupier of the place with respect to the existing stock of electronic cigarettes to prepare a list of such stock of electronic cigarettes in his possession and without unnecessary delay submit the same to the nearest office of the authorised officer.

  • Prohibition on Advertisement:

The Act further prohibits the advertisement of electronic cigarettes or participation in any advertisement that directly or indirectly promotes the use of electronic cigarettes. The Act defines advertisement as any audio or visual publicity, representation or pronouncement made by means of any light, sound, smoke, gas, print, electronic media, internet or website or social media and includes through any notice, circular, label, wrapper, invoice or other document or device

  • Penalties:

Selling and advertising electronic cigarettes will attract the specific penalty provision of the Act and the perpetrator will be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 1 year or with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees, or both.

For subsequent offence, the imprisonment may extend to 3 years and with fine which may extend to five lakh rupees.

The Act further empowers the authorised officer to enter and search the premises having the packages of electronic cigarettes and seize such stocks or any components related to it.

Source: Lok Sabha

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