New Delhi: The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Friday appreciated the Indian Government’s move to ban e-cigarettes across the country.

Further, the UN agency also hailed the move as a “strong and definitive step”, while asserting that it will go a long way in protecting public health and wellbeing of future generations.

“The strong leadership demonstrated by the government by banning e-cigarettes will go a long way in protecting public health and wellbeing of future generations,” the WHO said in a statement.

On September 18, citing health, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the Union Cabinet has given the approval to ban e-cigarettes, e-hookahs in the country.

“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.

With the Union Cabinet directing a blanket ban on e-cigarettes in the country with a complete suspension of their manufacturing, import, export, distribution and storage, physicians welcomed the step while e-cigarette traders expressed shock and anger over the decision.

“Although e-cigarettes are little less lethal than conventional cigarettes, we cannot shun away the fact that it contains harmful ingredients. These chemicals can potentially affect the lungs and overall health of the individual in the long run,” Rajesh Chawla, Senior Pulmonologist at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital in New Delhi, had told IANS.

Industry body TRENDS which represents importers, distributors and marketers of ENDS, or Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems in India, also termed the decision to ban e-cigarettes “ironic and erratic”.

(With IANS inputs)