India has banned e-cigarettes because they endanger the health of youths in the country, the Federal Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, said on Wednesday.
“The federal cabinet has approved an ordinance to ban production, manufacture, import, export, transport, distribution, sales, storage and advertisement of e-cigarettes,’’ Mr Sitharaman said.
The ban includes the manufacture and production of similar products.
Currently, e-cigarettes are not manufactured in India and are imported or assembled in the country.
First-time offenders could face a year’s imprisonment and a fine of 100,000 rupees ($1,404), Federal Health Secretary, Preeti Sudan, said.
A second offence would fetch three years’ imprisonment or a fine of 500,000 rupees.
“So far, there are no studies in India on the health impact of the use of e-cigarettes but studies in the U.S. indicate that young people were at grave risk,’’ Sudan said.
The Indian Council of Medical Research and similar organisations had recommended a ban.
E-cigarettes were becoming a style statement for the youth, Mr Sitharaman said.
Various farmers’ associations in India have also been demanding a ban on e-cigarettes, saying they were negatively impacting tobacco farmers.
The government’s ordinance has to be approved by parliament within six months.