India, a major tobacco producer, banned vaping

A major tobacco producer, India announced on Wednesday the ban on electronic cigarettes in the country of 1.3 billion people, joining a global regulatory tightening trend against vaping.
“The decision was made with the impact that e-cigarettes have on young people today,” Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in a press conference, highlighting health and anti-health imperatives. dependencies. “It has become very fashionable to try and use them.”

An order made by the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi prohibits the production, import or export, transportation, storage and sale of electronic cigarettes. A first offense is punishable by one year in prison and / or 100,000 rupees (about 1900 $ CAN) fine, up to 3 years and / or 500,000 rupees in case of recidivism.

This measure “will improve the policy of tobacco control, giving better results in terms of public health,” the government says on the Twitter account of its press service.

The Indian authorities are conducting major prevention campaigns on the physical ravages caused by tobacco, of which the giant of South Asia is also paradoxically a big producer.

The Association of Vapotors of India has accused the government of “seeming more concerned with protecting the cigarette industry than improving public health”. The ban represents “a black day for 110 million smokers in India who have been deprived of less dangerous options,” she said in a statement.

The ban on e-cigarettes in India comes a day after the US government banned the marketing of flavored electronic cigarettes in the US health authorities.

Electronic cigarettes, considered “undoubtedly harmful” in a recent report by the World Health Organization (WHO), consist of inhaling vapors created by the heating at high temperature of a liquid, which contains most of the time nicotine. They have become increasingly popular since their appearance in the mid-2000s.

The process is presented by its advocates as much less dangerous to health than traditional cigarettes, but lawmakers and health authorities around the world fear that it ultimately lead to young people smoking tobacco.

Third largest tobacco producer

New Delhi’s new ban does not, however, cover other tobacco-related products in India.

According to WHO, India is the second largest consumer of tobacco products in the world, killing nearly 900,000 people each year. Nearly 275 million Indians over the age of 15, or 35% of its adult population, consume it.

Smoking tobacco is more common than smoking cigarettes, and less expensive. Vaping is very little practiced.

India is also the world’s third largest tobacco producer, behind China and Brazil, and its farmers are a key electorate for political parties.

Many rickshaws in the capital New Delhi carry advertisements calling for support for Indian tobacco growers. Sellers of cigarettes and “paan” (chewing tobacco) of all tastes are found on every street corner.

The Association of Chambers of Commerce and Industry estimates that 45.7 million people depend on the tobacco industry in India.

India exported nearly $ 1 billion worth of tobacco to about 100 countries in 2017-2018. The government also has substantial shares, directly or indirectly, in tobacco companies such as ITC, one of the largest tobacco companies in the country.

The ban on electronic cigarettes “is completely absurd, because the government believes that for me there is no problem in smoking cigarettes, which are much more damaging to health than vaping would be,” he said. AFP Aronjoy, a 22-year-old student and occasional vaper, met in an electronic cigarette shop in New Delhi.

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