Government advisory on e-cigarette ban not binding on states: Delhi HC
The Delhi high court has held that the Centre’s advisory to ban sale of e-cigarettes is not binding on states and Union Territories.
“The advisory is not binding and it would be open to the respective states and union territories to take an informed decision in this regard,” Justice Vibhu Bakhru said on Wednesday. HT accessed a copy of the order on Thursday.
On August 28, the Centre had issued an advisory to ensure that electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) including e-cigarettes, vape, e-sheesha and similar devices that enable nicotine delivery are not sold, manufactured, distributed, traded, imported and advertised across the country.
Justice Vibhu Bakhru delivered the order while dismissing a plea filed by 48-year-old Piush Alhuwalia, a habitual smoker from the last 28 years, who had switched over to e-cigarettes due health problems caused by paper rolled cigarettes.
In his plea, filed through advocate Adarsh Ramanujan, Alhuwalia had contended that the Center’s advisory was violative of his fundamental right as it deprives him from exercising his discretion to use such products. He also e-cigarettes were less harmful and commonly used by the smokers to quit the habit.
The petition also highlighted a study conducted by the Executive Agency of Department of Health and Social Care, Public Health, England which indicates that e-cigarettes are 95% safer than smoking the traditional cigarettes.
“Smoking paper rolled cigarettes is virtually impossible to reverse or leave. Accordingly after learning about ENDS and having read about it over the internet, the petitioner has attempted to shift to e-cigarettes,” the plea said.
Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, Head and Neck cancer Surgeon at Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, said, “It is shocking that a poisonous substance is being portrayed as a safer alternative to cigarettes. What is not being told is the fact that nicotine in pure form is also potentially carcinogenic. E-cigarettes have never been proven to be safe or effective cessation tool for quitting cigarettes. People are being misguided by e-cigarette manufacturers”