India bans e-cigarettes

India bans e-cigarettes

India banned the sale of electronic cigarettes in mid-September 2019 and warned of an “epidemic” among young people. The ban at the time was potentially the biggest move globally against vaping over growing health concerns.

The ban cuts off a huge future market for e-cigarette makers at a time when the number of people smoking worldwide is declining. 

“These novel products come with attractive appearances and multiple flavors, and their use has increased exponentially and acquired epidemic proportions in developed countries, especially among youth and children,” India’s Health Ministry said.

The ban also covers the production, import and advertising of e-cigarettes but not the use of them. It comes at a time when vaping is facing increased scrutiny in other countries.

The United States in September 2019 announced plans to remove flavored e-cigarettes from stores, warning that sweet flavors had drawn millions of youths into nicotine addiction.

The Indian prohibition will be imposed through an executive order and will include jail terms of up to three years for offenders.

India has 106 million adult smokers, second only to China in the world, making it a lucrative market for companies making vaping products, such as U.S.-based Juul and Philip Morris, which manufactures a heat-not-burn tobacco device.

The ban was announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman at a news conference, where she showed various types of products to the media, including a Juul vaping device, which resembles a USB flash drive.

The global market for e-cigarettes is still small compared to cigarettes, but it is growing rapidly. In 2018, global cigarette sales totaled more than U.S. $713 billion, compared to U.S. $15.7 billion for vapor products, according to Euromonitor. By 2023, the vapor category is projected to more than double to U.S. $40 billion, while cigarettes are expected to decline slightly.  Reuters