In Bid to Re-Evaluate India's E-Cigarette Ban, Traders Write to Chief Ministers

The traders have urged the states to conduct independent studies and arrive at a 'rational' decision.

Kolkata: An association of e-cigarette traders, in the wake of the recent nationwide ban on electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) by the Centre, has sought the intervention of state governments into the matter.

The Trade Representatives of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (TRENDS) has written to the chief ministers of various states, and are hopeful of receiving replies from at least the non-BJP ruled states, an official of the association said.

The traders have urged the states to conduct independent studies, evaluate the effects of e-cigarettes and arrive at a “rational” decision.

Also read: India’s E-Cigarette Ban Comes as Setback for Companies Like Juul and Philip-Morris

“Health is a state matter. The state health departments should seek the Centre’s nod for conducting a study and taking independent decision on the use of e- cigarettes. We have written to the chief ministers in this regard and are expecting responses from at least the non-BJP states,” TRENDS convener Praveen Rikhy said over phone.

In September, the BJP-led central government banned production, import, sale and distribution of e-cigarettes and similar products, citing health risks.

Also read: Centre’s E-Cigarette Ban Sees First Court Challenge

In its plea to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, TRENDS said, “We would request you, as the leader of West Bengal, to ask the central government to allow your state health department to conduct its own research and study so that a rational decision benefitting maximum number of people of the state can be taken.”

With overall tobacco users (15 years and above) at 36.8% and smokers at 16.7%, the figures in the state are “quite alarming”, Rikhy said.

TRENDS claimed that e-cigarettes could be a solution – both for smokers who want to “move to a lesser harmful option”, and the state which gains from lower health costs and better mortality rates.