India bans e-cigarettes as vaping backlash grows
NEW DELHI, Sept 18: India announced on Wednesday a ban on the sale of electronic cigarettes, as a backlash gathers pace worldwide due to health concerns about a product promoted as less harmful than smoking tobacco.
The Indian announcement, also outlawing production, import and distribution, came a day after New York became the second US state to ban flavoured e-cigarettes following a string of vaping-linked deaths.
"The decision was made keeping in mind the impact that e-cigarettes have on the youth of today," Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told reporters in New Delhi.
E-cigarettes do not "burn" but instead heat up a liquid -- tasting of everything from bourbon to bubble gum and which usually contains nicotine -- that turns into vapour and is inhaled.
The vapour is missing the estimated 7,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke but does contain a number of substances that could potentially be harmful.
They have been pushed by producers, and also by some governments including in Britain, as a safer alternative to traditional smoking -- and as a way to kick the habit.
However critics say that apart from being harmful in themselves, the flavours of e-cigarette liquids appeal particularly to children and risk getting them addicted to nicotine.
Some 3.6 million middle and high school students in the United States used vaping products in 2018, an increase of 1.5 million on the year before.
The New York emergency legislation followed an outbreak of severe pulmonary disease that has killed seven people and sickened hundreds.
President Donald Trump's administration announced last week that it would soon ban flavoured e-cigarette products to stem a rising tide of youth users. -AFP