New Delhi: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday said the Union Cabinet has given the approval to ban e-cigarettes, e-hookahs in the country after a major decision was taken in this regard.

“It means the production, manufacturing, import or export, transport, sale, distribution, storage and advertising related to e-cigarettes are banned,” the minister said during a press conference soon after the decision was taken by the Union Cabinet.

Citing reports, Sitharaman said there are some who are probably getting into the habit of e-cigarettes as it seems cool.

“It is believed that there are more than 400 brands, none of which is manufactured yet in India. And they come in over 150 flavours,” she said.

Harmful to health, e-cigarettes or electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) are battery-powered devices used to smoke or ‘vape’, a flavoured solution containing nicotine. It is an addictive chemical found in cigarettes which are not good for health.

Banning the e-cigarette was one of the main priorities of Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government in the first 100 days.

The Union Finance Minister during the press briefing said the Central government will bring in an ordinance and the matter will be taken up in the Winter Session of the Parliament.

Considering the ill-effects e-cigarettes on health, the Health Ministry has prepared a draft with strict rules and laws on e-cigarettes called ‘The Prohibition of E-cigarettes Ordinance 2019’ to stop the unexpected growth of e-cigarette market in India which is unregulated so far.

The draft ordinance was earlier sent to the Group of Minister’s (GOM) to examine its various aspects. The draft ordinance included the strict prohibition on production, import, distribution, sale and use of electronic cigarettes along with imprisonment and penalty for violators.

(With inputs from agencies)