44,628 electronic nicotine delivery systems imported in last 4 yrs: Govt

New Delhi, Nov 22 (PTI) The government informed Parliament on Friday that 44,628 electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), including e-cigarettes, were imported in the country over the last four years.

To a question on the number of e-cigarettes or Electronic Nicotine Delivery System (ENDS) imported, Minister of State for Health Ashwini Choubey said 9,775 such alternative smoking devices were brought for sale in India in 2016-17.

In 2017-18 and 2018-19, as many as 30,438 and 3,915 devices were imported respectively. In period 2019-20, as many as 500 alternative smoking devices were imported, he said.

On September 18, the Centre banned electronic-cigarettes and other such devices through promulgation of 'The Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (production, manufacture, import, export, transport, sale, distribution, storage and advertisement) Ordinance, 2019. A bill seeking to replace the ordinance was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Friday.

Choubey said the ordinance extends to the whole of India and as such e-cigarettes are banned in all states and Union Territories. He said Central and state governments have been creating awareness on prohibition and harmful effects e-cigarettes through different mode of communications.

'All the States/UT Governments, Director General of Police of all States/UTs and stakeholder, Central Government Ministries/Departments were requested to take necessary steps for implementation of the provisions of the ordinance. Implementing agencies were also sensitized through a Video Conference for ensuring the implementation of the above said ordinance,' he said in his reply.

Further, a stakeholder meeting was organized with Central government ministries and departments for implementation of the provisions of the ordinance, he said.

The bill makes manufacturing, import, export, distribution, transport, sale, storage or advertisements of alternative smoking devices a cognizable offence, attracting a jail term and a fine.

First-time violators will face a jail term of up to one year and a fine of Rs 1 lakh. For subsequent offences, a jail term of up to three years or a fine of Rs 5 lakh, or both, according to the ordinance. Storage of e-cigarettes shall also be punishable with imprisonment of up to six months or a fine of up to Rs 50,000, or both. PTI PLB PLB NSD NSD