NEW DELHI: The revenue department has asked customs officials to ensure strict implementation of the prohibition on import of e-cigarettes after the country banned production, import and sale of these electronic devices and similar products citing health risk to people, especially youth.
E-cigarettes are technically called the ENDS (Electronic nicotine delivery systems).
The commerce ministry has already issued notifications to prohibit import and export of e-cigarettes or any parts or components like refill pods, atomisers and cartridges.
In a recent circular to senior officials of the customs department, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) has asked them to ensure "strict implementation" of the notifications of the commerce ministry "so that any attempts of import/export of such goods can be effectively prevented".
The ban on the production, import, export, transport, sale or advertisements of e-cigarettes has been imposed through an ordinance.
Many science journals have already said nearly three million people in the US are regular users of e-cigarettes and in a matter of four to five years, between 2011 and 2015-16, there has been over 900 per cent growth in e-cigarettes in the US, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said while announcing the government's decision to ban ENDS last month.
She said that e-cigarettes, which unfortunately was promoted in the country initially as a way of quitting smoking, are becoming a "style statement".
"It is believed that there are more than 400 brands, none of which is manufactured in India yet. They come in over 150 flavours. But the smoke exhaled by e-cigarettes users contains very high level of residual nicotine which affects passive smokers badly. The impact of e-cigarettes...has already caused a lot of concern in the US and many western countries," she said.
According to an official statement also said unlike the tried and tested nicotine and non-nicotine pharmacotherapies that are known to help people quit tobacco use, the WHO does not endorse e-cigarettes as cessation aids.
Apart from nicotine, e-cigarettes may also be used for delivery of other psychoactive substances, it added.