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SC declines to hear plea challenging Bill banning E-Cigarettes

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The Supreme Court on Monday declined to entertain a petition challenging a bill passed by Parliament banning e-cigarettes.

A division bench headed Justice R F Nariman asked petitioner and lawyer Aishwarya Sinha to approach the Delhi High Court in the matter.

Parliament had last month passed The Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Transport, Sale, Distribution, Storage and Advertisement) Bill, 2019.

An ordinance to this effect had been issued in September last year.

The bill found all-round support in Parliament and most MPs were of the opinion that tobacco-based cigarettes should also be similarly banned.

On September 18, 2019, the government had taken the ordinance route to ban e-cigarettes with a punishment of one-year imprisonment and a fine one lakh rupee for first-time offenders.

The decision was taken to protect the people, especially the youth and children, from the risk of addiction through e-cigarettes.

“E-cigarettes were promoted as a way to get people out of their smoking habits but reports have shown that many people are not using it as weaning mechanism but are addicted to it,” Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had then said.

MPs had said that international data reflected a rising trend of young children taking to e-cigarettes and it was important to ban the product to protect the younger generations.

The US Food and Drug Administration (US-FDA) is currently investigating reported lung injuries and their relation to vaping using e-cigarettes. It has issued multiple warnings encouraging discontinuation of e-cigarette use in the US.

Quoting a media report, a member of Parliament had said an estimated $1.9 lakh worth e-cigarettes had been imported to India. 30 countries across the world have banned e-cigarettes and 98 countries have tried to regulate its use one or the other way.

— India Legal Bureau

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