New Delhi still trying to vape
in a country that accounts for 12% of the worlds smokers, where nearly 70% of adult males still smoke combustible cigarettes. In New Delhi a vaping device importer has successfully got a temporary stay on the central government’s ban on e-cigarettes in India from the Delhi High Court.
Last month, the Central Drugs Standards Control Organisation (CDSCO) had issued a letter to all state drug controllers saying that they should not allow the sale, online sale, manufacture, distribution, trade, import or advertisement of vaporizers. The letter specified that this ban would extend to nicotine devices like e-cigarettes, heat and not burn devices, vapes, and the like.
The petitioner in the case told the court that these devices are “not akin to a cigarette and have been internationally recognized as a healthier alternative to traditional tobacco smoking.”
In August 2018, the central health ministry issued an advisory to all states not to allow the sale of e-cigarettes. A few months later, the Delhi high court clarified that this advisory would not be binding on states who could take their own “informed decision.” As of this writing 12 states have banned e-cigarettes.
These orders have been passed by Justice Vibhu Bakhru, who stated that ENDS does not appear to be a “drug” as defined in Section 3 of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, and thus the CDSCO may not actually be applicable to deem regulation. The judge also noted that the devices are not being sold as therapeutic devices with medicinal value, for the treatment of any disease.
E-cigarettes companies have been working for a share of the Indian market, with public and private lobbying trying to get into India. So far, the Indian government has not been keen to allow the formal entry although ENDS is easily available for a price in all major cities and also available for sale online.
The case in the Delhi high court on the regulation of e-cigarettes will come up for hearing again in May. It is still uncertain how this will affect eLiquids
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