BENGALURU: Days after Express reported that the drug controller of Karnataka had passed the buck to other government departments on implementation of the e-cigarette ban, Bengaluru-based NGO Verve Foundation has sent a notice to the drug controller, in public interest, accusing him of dereliction of duty.
Ravishankar S S, an advocate of GR Law Firm, who sent the notice on behalf of Verve, said, “Nicotine is scheduled as a drug under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act. Retailers can’t sell it. There is no ambiguity in the government circular. It is not to be sold in any form.”
“By suggesting that there is ambiguity on who the implementing agency in the ban is, the drug controller is not subscribing to the state policy whose consent was taken when this circular was passed,” he added.
The notice said, “When e-cigarettes are sold as drug, there is a legal need to critically examine its licence 150-C.” It further added, “In addition to the existing ban on e-cigarettes, nicotine sulphate is listed as insecticide under Section 3 (e) of the Insecticides Act, 1968. Nicotine and nicotine sulphate are listed as hazardous and toxic chemicals in the Environment (Protection) Act, 1968.”
The drug controller had told Express on July 18 that since nicotine is not a drug, it does not come under the purview of the drug control department and hence, the onus of implementing the ban does not rest with them.
“With the 85 per cent pictorial warning becoming a mandate on cigarette packets, the industry players are quite unhappy and this ban has disappointed them further. Such confusion will only encourage them further,” Ravishankar said.
Drug controller B T Khanapure said he will respond after discussion with Principal Secretary Shalini Rajneesh.
To an SMS from Express on who the implementing agency in the e-cigarette ban is, Rajneesh replied, “Of course, the drug controller!”
Verve Foundation secretary Amit Karmic said, “The industry is not happy with this ban. We just wanted to make sure the drug controller understands his responsibilities.”
“We have been closely monitoring the ban and it is a good initiative in the interest of the youth who are getting addicting to e-cigarettes. We don’t want this to be one of those orders that are passed but not implemented,” he added.