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The Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Transport, Sale, Distribution, Storage and Advertisement) Act, 2019

2020-04-22 | 4 minutes

bad effects of e-cigarettes

Purpose of the Act

The act aims to curb the bad effects of e-cigarettes. E-Cigarettes are not covered under Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003. So, a new law was needed.



In 2018, the centre issued an advisory asking the states not to approve any new e-cigarettes and restrict the sale of the existing one. In 2019, ICMR recommended ban on e-cigarettes following which an ordinance was passed in 2019 banning it. However, around 15 states have already banned e-cigarettes.


What are E-Cigarettes?

These are the battery-powered vaporizer that heats nicotine liquid containing vegetable glycerine, Propylene glycol (forms vapor) along with other materials like Formaldehyde, Diacetyl, Benzene, etc. They come in different tastes and colors to attract the young population. These include all forms of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), Heat Not Burn Products, e-hookah, etc.

According to ICMR, use of e-cigarettes can damage DNA, cause cardiovascular and neurological disorders, has adverse impact on foetal development, etc.


Provisions of the Act

  • The act defines electronic cigarettes as battery-powered vaporizer containing nicotine or no nicotine. Thus, all forms of e-cigarettes are banned except those material included under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940. Hence, the Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Transport, Sale, Distribution, Storage and Advertisement of e-cigarettes are banned.
  • A punishment of one-year imprisonment and a fine of one lakh rupees have been proposed for first-time offenders. For 2nd-time offenders, there is a fine of INR 5 lakhs along with a 3-year punishment. The storage of e-cigarettes is punishable with imprisonment of up to six months or a fine of up to 50 thousand rupees or both.
  • If a company is involved in the violation of the provisions of the act, every member of that company will be punished unless proved otherwise.
  • If anyone possessed e-cigarettes in any form, then the person has to deposit such material with an authorized person having a rank, not below that of sub-inspector. It can be deposited to any other person authorized by the state government.
  • The authority has the power to search and seize under Crpc. Also, the offense is cognizable.


Analysis of the Act

Currently, cigarettes and tobacco products are regulated under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply, and Distribution) Act, 2003 or COTPA, 2003. The act bans public smoking except in special smoking areas. It also bans advertising through mass media, but in some conditions, advertising is allowed like packaging ads and ads of places where such products are sold can be displayed on small packets. However, packaging has to be simple and 85% of the packaging area should be covered with the warning ‘Smoking Kills and Tobacco Causes Mouth Cancer’. Also, the content of nicotine and Tobacco has to be revealed, both in English and Hindi. Though sale to minor is prohibited, there is no restriction on sale through internet or sale in small packages.

Relevance of the prohibition of e-cigarettes act:

Though ENDS is supported on the context that it does not contain tobacco or helps leave smoking habit but according to WHO it has following harms:

  • Though it is not carcinogenic, it helps in promoting tumors.
  • Heavy elements like lead present in it cause harm to others, leads to loss of mental power, release toxins and thus not good for children and pregnant women. It can also lead to cardiovascular diseases.
  • Also, nicotine is an addictive substance. Rather than helping to leave the smoking habit, people can become chain smokers. In China, its patents are increasing, and it is imported in India from China and Germany. So there are doubts that it leads to leaving the smoking habit.
  • One puff induces 1 mg of nicotine in the body. 10 puffs can lead to 10 mg of nicotine, which is lethal for children. There have been cases in the U.S of children being attracted to it and using it has led to deaths. Also, there has been a rise in Acute Respiratory diseases in the U.S.

The act will protect the youths in India from the ill-effects of consumption of e-cigarettes or ENDS and also decrease health burden.



The blanket ban is supported because this industry is new in India. Also, only 0.03% of people use ENDS in India. So it will be easy to control the industry without many ramifications. Also, it is banned in 30 countries. India is a party to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), which came into force in 2005, and it called for the ban on ENDS.

Tobacco products, on the other hand, cannot be banned fully as many farmers and others’ livelihood is dependent on the cultivation of tobacco. Tobacco is a well-developed industry in India. So, it is regulated. For e-cigarettes, various persuasive steps need to be taken, like applying nudge behavior policy (giving positive reinforcement to leave ENDS).