Karnataka bans e-cigarettes
Bengaluru (DHNS): The ban on production, distribution and promotion of the Electronic Nicotine Delivery System, popularly known as e-cigarettes, came into effect from Wednesday.
Health Minister U T Khader said a circular specifying that the ban will come into effect immediately has been issued. Khader also said the government is contemplating a complete ban on the sale of cigarettes and beedis.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah recently held a meeting with the health, home and law departments and authorised Law Minister T B Jayachandra to submit a report to ascertain the feasibility of the ban.
Khader said the ban on e-cigarettes was in public interest, especially for the youth who are increasingly falling prey to the product.
The health minister said e-cigarettes, like tobacco-based cigarettes, were harmful, posing serious health threats.
Sale, production and distribution of e-cigarettes is now a criminal offence under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, attracting a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh and/or imprisonment up to 5 years.
The circular states that the government has knowledge that e-cigarettes and other similar products are being sold illegally.
Khader said the drug controller and the food safety departments have been asked to conduct raids and seize e-cigarettes immediately, adding that states like Punjab, Haryana and the Union Territory of Chandigarh have also banned production and sale of e-cigarettes.
E-cigarettes are usually made of plastic and metal, and users inhale smoke of propylene glycol (PEG 400) along with a form of nicotine that is banned. The mixture is packed in a disposable cartridge and is heated with the help of an electric charger to generate smoke.
Public consumption of nicotine has already been banned through a notification dated August 1, 2011, under the Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006, and Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restriction on Sales) and Regulations, 2011.
Regulated use of nicotine, however, is permitted for medical purposes under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940.