Despite ban, e-cigarettes sold openly in market, reveals survey
‘Coordinated effort at Centre and state level is need of the hour’
BENGALURU: Despite a ban on electronic cigarettes by the Union Government, they are found to be easily available in tobacco shops and sold to children below the age of 18. This was revealed in a recent survey conducted by five organisations led by the Voluntary Health Association of India in seven states — Karnataka, Telangana, Delhi, Assam, Goa, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh.
Most of the vendors were not aware of the law banning e-cigarettes and the survey found that the products were available online and were getting delivered to the doorstep in two days without any age verification. A rapid survey and sample collection were done to ascertain evidence of the violation of the e-cigarette ban wherein shops/vendors were randomly selected for the investigation. The survey was conducted and evidence was gathered in both online and offline modes.
“A coordinated effort at the centre and state level is urgently needed to ensure the e-cigarettes ban is effective,” said Dr Prof Ashok Patil, National Law School of India University.
In the enforcement drives conducted in Bengaluru till March 21, it was revealed that more than Rs 8.9 lakh worth of e-cigarettes (681 numbers) and illegal foreign cigarettes (805 packs) were seized under the Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes Act – 2019 and Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act 2003 (COTPA 2003).
“E-cigarettes contain nicotine which causes addiction leading to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. The public should be vigil, and provide information on the venues selling e-cigarettes for officials to take appropriate action” said Dr Ramesh Bilimagga, a renowned oncologist.