Following a trend of growing scepticism around the safety of vaping devices, India has now banned electronic cigarettes.
The sweeping ban prohibits the manufacture, storage, import, export, transport, sale, and advertisement of all e-cigarette products.
India’s finance minister Nirmana Sitharaman said the decision was taken in light of the rising popularity of e-cigarettes amongst the country’s youth.
According to NPR, The Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, said the ban is a “quantum jump towards healthy living”.
The announcement follows the decision by two US states, Michigan and New York, to prohibit flavoured e-cigarettes, a product that ostensibly appeals greatly to teenagers.
Those decisions came after seven people in the US died of pulmonary disease, an illness related to vaping. Nearly 400 more fell ill.
The administration of US President Donald Trump has also proposed a plan to ban non-tobacco flavoured e-cigarettes.
“We can’t allow people to get sick. People are dying,” Trump said on Wednesday.
The ban in India has labelled vaping products as a potential gateway to the consumption of other more harmful tobacco products.
According to the World Health Organization, India is the world’s second-largest consumer of tobacco products, with nearly a third of its population using the products as of 2017.
Vaping is often regarded as a safer alternative to traditional smoking, although research on its long-term effects remains limited.