New Delhi: The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Tuesday asked the states to ban Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) including e-cigarettes, vape, e-sheesha, e-hookah etc. in a bid to protect children, adolescents and women of reproductive age from several health risks.

The health ministry in an advisory to all States said, “As such, the states/Union Territories are advised, in larger public health interest and in order to prevent the initiation of ENDS by non-smokers and youth with special attention to vulnerable groups, to ensure that any Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) including e-Cigarettes, HeatNot-Burn devices, Vape, e-Sheesha, e-Nicotine Flavoured Hookah.”

It further said that devices as such enabled nicotine delivery and hence should not be sold either online or offline. The advisory also stated that these should not be manufactured, distributed, traded, imported and advertised in the state jurisdictions, except for the purpose and in the manner and to the extent, as may be approved under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and rules made thereunder.

The Centre announced the ban on e-cigarettes in the country following reports of new emerging threats and the delay in coming up with regulatory measures for the same.

According to studies which have been conducted so far, ENDS have cancer-causing properties and are highly addictive. Also, they do not offer a safer alternative to tobacco-based products. With this, companies like Philip Morris International Inc which were planning to launch ENDS in the country will not be able to do so. Moreover, if experts’ advice is to be believed, electronic cigarettes deliver packaged nicotine in an attractive format.

On the flip side, Philip Morris which was going to launch the product in the country said the sleek, pen-like iQOS heats but does not burn tobacco, but produces a nicotine-containing vapour rather than smoke and thus makes it less harmful than regular cigarettes.