The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved ban on e-cigarettes and suspension of its manufacturing, import, export, distribution and storage.
Addressing the media after the cabinet meeting, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the government would issue an ordinance on the ban and introduce a Bill in Parliament in the winter session.
The decision provided for one-year imprisonment or a fine of Rs 1 lakh in case of the first offence. The repeat offence would invite a three-year jail or a penalty of Rs 5 lakh or both, said Preeti Sudan, Secretary, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
She said all offences such as import, export and distribution, except storing e-cigarettes and vaping products were cognizable offence.
The decision comes after demands from several quarters for ban on electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), which includes e-cigarettes, heat-not-burn devices, vape, e-sheesha, e-nicotine flavoured hookah and other similar devices.
E-cigarettes don't burn tobacco but heats the liquid chemicals into vapour or steam that a person inhales. That's why it's also called vaping. E-cigarettes are considered harmful to health.
Sitharaman said though no Indian company was manufacturing e-cigarettes, some 400 brands were available offering 150 flavours.