Health Ministry called on Tuesday and ordered to stop the sale and import of electronic cigarettes and heat-not-burn tobacco devices in the country claiming it to be a greater health risk.

The Government claims that tobacco use kills 900,000 people every year in India, but there are still 106 million smokers in the country. The country wishes to adopt stringent laws to decrease tobacco use. In the past few years, the government has taken strict measures to curb tobacco use by intensifying tobacco-control efforts, raising cigarette taxes, ordering companies to print bigger health warnings on packs and introducing a quit smoking helpline.

Philip Morris claims the pen like structure iQOS smoking device does not burn tobacco and only produces a nicotine vapor, causing less harm than the conventional smoke from the cigarettes. The company wants to one day stop selling cigarettes altogether.

The Health Ministry has asked the states to ensure that the electronic cigarettes and the heat-not-burn devices are not sold, manufactured, imported or advertised.   The Health Ministry is of the opinion that such devices would create a greater health risk to the public at large, especially to children, adolescents, pregnant women and women of reproductive age.

Last year, a New-Delhi resident had filed a petition seeking regulation of e-cigarettes. The case had been filed to bring out the absolute absence of any regulation with regard to e-cigarettes

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