With India’s top drug advisory board moving towards a ban on e-cigarettes, the country will join the list of countries that have prohibited manufacture, sale and distribution of electronic cigarettes or Electronic Nicotinic Delivery Systems (ENDS).
But India’s ban on e-cigarettes could be different from in other countries.
An electronic cigarette or e-cigarette is a handheld battery-powered vaporiser that simulates smoking by providing some of the behavioral aspects of smoking, including the hand-to-mouth action of smoking, but without combusting tobacco. Using an e-cigarette is known as “vaping” and the user is referred to as a “vaper”.
According to World Health Organisation, ENDS heat a solution (e-liquid) to create an aerosol which frequently contains flavourants, usually dissolved into Propylene Glycol or/and Glycerin. All ENDS contain nicotine. Electronic cigarettes, the most common prototype, are devices that do not burn or use tobacco leaves, but instead vaporise a solution the user then inhales. The main constituents of the solution, in addition to nicotine when nicotine is present, are propylene glycol, with or without glycerol and flavouring agents. ENDS solutions and emissions contain other chemicals, some of them considered to be toxicants.
Smokers usually practice vaping as a way to give up smoking.
The use of e-cigarettes is not much old and the laws surrounding vaping are still evolving. Therefore, countries keep changing their laws based on new information. Many countries still do not have a law pertaining to e-cigarettes.
Vaping laws vary from country to country. While laws of some countries consider e-cigarettes strictly illegal, others permit its use under strict restrictions. Prohibition is most common in Asia, the Middle East and South America.
Following are the laws related to e-cigarettes in various countries across the world:
In United States, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies e-cigarettes and other ENDS as tobacco products. They are legal to use and sell, but sales of products produced after August 8, 2016 are prohibited without a marketing order from the FDA. In 2022, the pre-2016 products that have not received marketing approval will also be removed from the market. From August 8, 2016, all US states follow the same, uniform federal guidelines.
Most of Europe allows vaping, as long as it is not in a public establishment. Article 20 of the Tobacco Products Directive regulates e-cigarettes sold as consumer products in the European Union. The law sets a maximum nicotine concentration and volume for cartridges, tanks and nicotine liquid containers. E-cigarettes should label health warning.
Russia does not regard electronic cigarettes as tobacco products.
In Australia and Japan, use of vape pens are legal, but it’s illegal to sell nicotine.
E-cigarettes are banned in Asian countries of Cambodia, Lebanon, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore, Jordan, Oman and Qatar.
In South America, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Uruguay have imposed ban on e-cigarettes.
In Africa, Gambia has imposed a blanket ban on e-cigarettes. In countries like Ethiopia, Uganda, Seychelles and Mauritius, e-cigarettes are legal to use but illegal to sell.