India’s health ministry has proposed a ban on the production and import of electronic cigarettes, documents seen by Reuters showed, potentially jeopardizing the expansion plans of big firms like Juul Labs and Philip Morris International.
The ministry has proposed that the government issue an executive order banning the devices in the public interest, saying it was needed to ensure e-cigarettes don’t become an ‘epidemic’ among children and young adults.
‘E-cigarettes and similar technologies that encourage tobacco use or adversely impact public health are hazardous for an active as well as passive user,’ the health ministry said in an internal note seen by Reuters that the federal cabinet is expected to consider.
Health officials are proposing jail terms of up to three years, with a penalty of up to 500,000 rupees ($7,000), for repeat offenders against the new rules, according to a draft of the executive order.
First-time offenders would face a prison term of up to one year and a fine of 100,000 rupees.