Delhi High Court holds 1st hearing on banning of e-cigarette in India

While the union government is keen to ban the e-cigarettes in India, the Association of Vapers India (AVI) a consumer representative body for the concerned industry has intervened in this matter with the argument that it is a good alternative to tobacco-based smoking

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New Delhi: While the hearing on Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by anti-tobacco activist Seema Sehgal in January seeking to regulate e-cigarettes continues in Delhi High Court, the Central Government has disclosed its intention to ban e-cigarettes, ignoring the Petitioner’s plea that the industry should instead be regulated.

During the hearing, the counsel appearing on behalf of the Central Government i.e., Ministry of Health and Family Welfare submitted that the government is in the process of formally banning on e-cigarettes . “We have proposed and are working on an e-cigarette ban,” the counsel informed the bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal Justice and Justice C Hari Shankar hearing the matter.

The counsel further said, “We have submitted documents in court today and will file an affidavit banning e-cigarettes.”

Meanwhile, the Association of Vapers India (AVI) a consumer representative body has intervened in this matter. The bench, as per the release by AVI, remarked that it may be odd to ban e-cigarettes when there is no such ban on tobacco cigarettes.

During the proceedings, the counsel for the industry of intervened and stated that that his client is an affected party and needs to be heard. But the government counsel objected, saying there was no need for anyone to intervene as this happened to be a policy matter. However, the Court permitted the vaping industry to file an application for canvassing their stand on the matter. The court then posted the matter for hearing in August.

Mr Samrat Chowdhery, Director, AVI, said that his association is keen to provide the government with voluminous scientific data which shows e-cigarettes are a much safer alternative to combustible cigarettes. He further said the organization represents a large number of individuals who quit smoking with the help of e-cigarettes.He also stated that the Association will take all steps available in law to contest the ban.

As per AVI, the e-cigarette is popular in many developed countries as regulators there see it as a safer alternative to the tobacco cigarette, which is the cause of most of the tobacco-related deaths across the world.