One of the world’s biggest countries has banned vaping

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She said all offences such as import, export and distribution, except storing e-cigarettes and vaping products are cognizable.

Preeti Sudan, Secretary Health and Family Welfare said, "The punishment proposed is imprisonment up to 1 year or a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh, or both for the first offence and imprisonment of 3 years or a fine up to Rs 5 lakhs or both, for subsequent offences". The storage of e-cigarettes will be punishable with a jail term of 6 months or a fine up to Rs. 50,000.

'The decision was made keeping in mind the impact that e-cigarettes have on the youth of today, ' India's Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Wednesday.

Shares in ITC, India's top cigarette maker, ended up almost one per cent, while its rival Godfrey Phillips surged 5.2 per cent. E-cigarettes form just a tiny part of their product range. The vapor excludes some 7,000 chemicals that now exist in tobacco smoke, but it does contain a number of substances that could potentially be harmful, critics say. Vapes are hand-held devices from which people inhale/exhale vapour, and according to vape store owners, most customers take to e-cigarettes as an alternative to smoking.

Other than e-cigarettes, the government also intends to ban hukkah and other vaping devices.

The ban on electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), commonly known as e-cigarettes, has been delayed by the health ministry since 2018.

As of Wednesday, it was reported that seven people had died in the USA because of a vaping-related illness.

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The ban of e-cigarettes comes as a relief to India that is quickly turning into a gas chamber.

The ordinance will need to be approved by parliament when it returns for the next session due in November.

"I feel it's absolutely absurd", Aronjoy, 22, a student and occasional vaper, told AFP in a shop selling e-cigarettes.

-Production, export, import and distribution of e-cigarettes banned.

Juul and other vaping companies have come under increased scrutiny in the US amid multiple lawsuits, several deaths and possibly hundreds of illnesses tied to e-cigarettes, which are used to inhale nicotine vapour without smoking.

Wednesday's ruling was a huge blow to e-cigarette makers as India has 106 million adult smokers, second only in the world to China.

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