[New Delhi 18th Reuters]-The Indian government announced on the 18th that it would completely ban the production, sale and import of electronic cigarettes. The government has decided that fines and imprisonment will be imposed on the violators, noting that e-cigarettes are spreading rapidly among young people and that health effects are a concern.
While the number of smokers around the world is decreasing, India has 106 million smokers, the second largest after China. Companies such as Philip Morris <PM.N> who were expected to grow in India could be affected.
The Indian Ministry of Health pointed out, “E-cigarettes with attractive looks and flavors are widespread among developed countries, especially young people and children.” In India, with a population of about 1.3 billion, more than 900,000 people die each year due to tobacco-related illnesses.
In addition to the production, sale and import of electronic cigarettes, advertising is also prohibited, but use is not prohibited. The first offense will result in up to one year of imprisonment and a fine of 100,000 rupees ($ 1404). For the second and subsequent violations, a maximum penalty of 3 years and a fine of 500,000 rupees will be imposed.
Shain McGill, head of Euromonitor's tobacco research department in London, analyzed that other countries could follow the ban in India and that the global tobacco industry would be hit. “It's clear that India is a huge potential market for tobacco products,” explained that companies such as Juul Labs and Philip Morris will be cut off access to the Indian market.