Recently, Juul Inc, a dominant player in the e-cigarette or Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) market, agreed to pay $438.5 million to settle claims by 34 US states and territories which said its marketing led to an increase in teenage vaping.
GS II: Government Policies and Interventions
Dimensions of the Article:
- What are electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS)?
- What is the legal status of the e-cigarette market in India?
What are electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS)?
- E-cigarettes, e-hookahs, e-pipes, vapes and vape pens are some examples of electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) products.
- They are electric devices that produce an aerosol made by heating a liquid, usually containing nicotine, flavourings and other chemicals.
- While some e-cigarettes look like regular cigarettes, others are slickly designed, often resembling everyday items like pens or USB drives like in the case for Juul.
- While ENDS were originally marketed to help smokers quit the habit or as a safer alternative to cigarettes they have become very popular among young people, often attracting non-smokers as well.
- According to UK’s National Health Service data accessed by The Telegraph, there has been a steady increase in its use or ‘vaping’ by children and teenagers in the country, as they are targeted by companies with “bright packaging, exotic flavours and enticing names.”
- The US Centre for Disease Control claims that while e-cigarettes have the potential to help adult smokers if used as a complete substitute for regular cigarettes, they can still cause harm.
- Apart from highly addictive nicotine, e-cigarette aerosol can also contain harmful substances like heavy metals and cancer-causing agents.
What is the legal status of the e-cigarette market in India?
- In September 2019 the Indian government banned the production, manufacture, import, export, transport, sale, distribution, storage and advertisement of all ENDS.
- As per the law, Juul and all other e-cigarettes are currently banned in India.
- It ranges from a fine of one to five lakh rupees, as well as imprisonment for 1 to 3 years, while those found storing the devices shall face imprisonment of up to 6 months and/or a fine up to Rs 50,000.
- The government claimed that the ban would help “protect the population”, especially the youth and children, from the risk of addiction through e-cigarettes.
Report by Prescient and Strategic Intelligence in July 2019:
- It showed a thriving e-cigarette market in the country. From $7.8 million in 2018, the market was expected to reach $45.3 million by 2024, growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 26.4 per cent, with young users holding the largest share of the market.
Despite a formal ban, e-cigarettes and vapes are still available available:
- Most commonly sold are the disposable variety that cannot be recharged after one use, and cost anywhere between Rs 500 to Rs 3,500.
- Largely manufactured in China, brands such as iGet, Yuoto and Dyb sell their products in a variety of sweet-fruity flavours like ‘Lush Fruit’, ‘Cola Ice’ and ‘Iced Strawberry’ to attract more customers.
- Similarly, despite repeated attempts by the US FDA to curb the sales of sweet-flavoured e-cigarettes, Reuters has found that they are available at stores across the US.
- According to the report from August, at least 20 brands still sell disposable e-cigarettes, many manufactured in China.
-Source: Indian Express