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Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS)

Context:

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.
Relevance:

GS II: Government Policies and Interventions

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What are electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS)?
  2. 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.

Punishment:

  • 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


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