Addressing a conclave in Jaipur on World No Tobacco Day today, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has banned the sale of e-cigarettes in Rajasthan.
A media release also said that the government had banned the online or offline sale, storage, production, distribution, and advertisement of e-cigarettes in the state.
Earlier at a meeting on Thursday, CM Gehlot said the ban follows his party’s manifesto to discourage the youth from addiction.
Health minister Raghu Sharma said the government was opposed to the promotion of e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes. He said he had set up a committee of experts to look into the adverse impacts of e-cigarettes and it found that there were indeed many.
But this is a surprise move in a state where the sale of tobacco products and cigarettes is allowed. E-cigarettes are too new for researchers to have found their adverse impact like cancer associated with tobacco. It was felt that many youngsters start smoking e-cigarettes — and graduate to tobacco cigarettes later in life.
Questions are being raised whether the ban has been done to safeguard interests of the tobacco lobby. Smoking tobacco has been found to be more dangerous than an e-cigarette.
While public smoking of cigarettes is banned in the state, no steps to ban chewing of tobacco have been taken.
India has 1.2 million tobacco consumers out of about 7 million in the world. In the scenario, India needs to take a concrete step to eliminating tobacco from the lives. But the lobbying moves like Gehlot government seems to work for anything but the public interest.