India and China ban e-cigarettes while Public Health England continues to say it is a safer alternative to smoking

A few days after the White House announced plans to ban flavoured e-cigarettes, except for tobacco-flavoured products due to the rise in the number of young people who vape as well as the pandemic of lung illnesses in the US, India’s cabinet approved an emergency order banning the production, import and sale of e-cigarettes citing its increasing popularity amongst the youth. First-time violators will be punished with imprisonment up to 1 year or fine up to Rs 1 lakh or both, repeat offenders will attract jail term up to 3 years and fine up to Rs 5 lakh.

“These novel products come with attractive appearances and multiple flavours; their use has increased exponentially and has acquired epidemic proportions in developed countries, especially among youth and children,” said India’s finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman while announcing the decision at a media briefing. “It is believed that there are more than 400 brands (of e-cigarettes), none of which is manufactured yet in India. And they come in over 150 flavours.”

The World Health Organization data shows that India’s smoking population is the world’s second largest, after China. And over 1 million people die annually from smoking-related illnesses.

Public Health’s Advise

PHE responded on Twitter by saying despite the risks, vaping is safer than tobacco and more effective in helping people quit than willpower alone. The agency continued to say: “Our advice on e-cigarettes remains unchanged – vaping isn’t completely risk-free but is far less harmful than smoking tobacco.