Gujarat: e-cigarettes banned! Industry says will create precedent to ban other tobacco products
The association has found it contradictory that a ban was sought to be put on e-cigarettes but not cigarettes and beedis, which had been proven to be more harmful.
The Gujarat Government has passed a legislation in the ongoing state Assembly session to ban electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) devices. However, the nascent e-cigarettes industry on Tuesday called upon the state government to reconsider implementing the legislation stating that the move was regressive given the international trends and unilateral.
In a representation to Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, Praveen Rikhy, convenor of Trade Representatives of ENDS in India (TRENDS), was quoted as saying, "We are extremely disheartened to hear that a progressive state like Gujarat has taken a hasty step to attempt to ban the ENDS category, without giving an opportunity to the industry to present facts and the available research." Notably, TRENDS is a voluntary body of importers, distributors and marketers of the nicotine devices.
The industry body warned that the move to ban e-cigarettes would in the long run create a precedent for banning other tobacco products and have a sledgehammer impact on the tobacco farmers of the state, said an IANS report, which quoted Rikhy as saying, "We have been denied an opportunity to represent the category and help the government make an informed choice on this matter".
The association has reportedly found it contradictory that a ban was sought to be put on e-cigarettes but not cigarettes and beedis, which had been proven to be more harmful. "Ban of ENDS will rob citizens of Gujarat of a viable substitute to traditional smoking, in terms of impact on human health and environment," a the representation stated.
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Rikhy informed in the representation, a copy of which was also submitted to Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, that the association had also urged the Union Health Ministry to review its position on the issue in light of the facts and experience of many countries around the world.
She pointed out that the government`s decision was regressive when compared with the fact that developed economies were regulating ENDS and many saw the category as complementary to their tobacco control goals, adding "Today, all G7 countries and 34 out of 36 OECD countries have regulated and formalised sale, distribution, marketing and manufacture of ENDS."
Her representation also cited the global studies that had established that ENDS was a viable substitute to traditional smoking, in terms of impact on human health and environment, adding "This arbitrary ban is bound to result in the creation of a `black market` for ENDS products, resulting in sale of spurious and unsafe products to the citizens of Gujarat."
The TRENDS further submitted that, "We would request you to objectively consider the benefits and harms related to the product and initiate open consultation, which will help to better inform its decision for the ENDS category."
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