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Until recently e-cigarettes have been legal to sell and use in most of India, although the import, sale, possession, use and distribution of e-cigarettes, its components and liquids were banned in the states of Bihar, Kerala, Karnataka, Punjab, Mizoram, Jammu & Kashmir, and in the Union Territory of Chandigarh. However, in August 2018 the Government Ministry of Welfare & Families issued 'advice' for all states to prohibit sales, import and advertisement of e-cigarettes. The 'advice' puts the onus on the individual states, they are free to ignore it, but it's unlikely they will, at most they might delay implementation. Central Government controls imports through the Customs, and states might face legal challenges in their jurisdictions asking them to explain why they have not followed through on the central advisory. Many sellers of e-cigarettes have reportedly shut or are shutting shop. Some commentators see this move as bolstering the tobacco industry in India.
Selling e-cigarettes (containing nicotine) and control mechanisms
Sale of e-cigarettes
Allowed[1, 2, 3, 4]
References

1. Vapetrotter website. Available at: https://www.vapetrotter.com/laws/

2. Global tobacco control website. Available at: https://www.globaltobaccocontrol.org/node/14052

3. Tobacco Control Laws website. Available at : https://www.tobaccocontrollaws.org/legislation/

Comments

4. E-cigarette sales allowed except in 7 states - Bihar, Kerala, Karnataka, Punjab, Mizoram, Jamma & Kashmir where ENDS are banned. Delhi & Maharashtra were also considering a ban. However recent advice from the Government Ministry of Welfare & Families issued in August 2018, advised all states to prohibit sales, import and advertisement of ecigarettes.

General use and availability
Legal to use
Yes[1, 2, 3, 4]
Legal to sell e-cigarette device
Yes[1, 2, 3, 4]
Legal to sell nicotine
Yes[1, 2, 3, 4]
Legal to import device - trade
Yes[1, 2, 3, 4]
Legal to import nicotine - trade
Yes[1, 2, 3, 4]
References

1. Vapetrotter website. Available at: https://www.vapetrotter.com/laws/

2. Global tobacco control website. Available at: https://www.globaltobaccocontrol.org/node/14052

3. Tobacco Control Laws website. Available at : https://www.tobaccocontrollaws.org/legislation/

Comments

4. E-cigarette sales allowed except in 7 states - Bihar, Kerala, Karnataka, Punjab, Mizoram, Jamma & Kashmir where ENDS are banned. Delhi & Maharashtra were also considering a ban. However recent advice from the Government Ministry of Welfare & Families issued in August 2018, advised all states to prohibit sales, import and advertisement of ecigarettes.

Health
Minimum age restrictions on sales
Yes 18+[1, 2, 3, 4]
Legal restrictions on vaping in public places
Yes[1, 2, 3, 4]
References

1. Vapetrotter website. Available at: https://www.vapetrotter.com/laws/

2. Global tobacco control website. Available at: https://www.globaltobaccocontrol.org/node/14052

3. Tobacco Control Laws website. Available at : https://www.tobaccocontrollaws.org/legislation/

Comments

4. E-cigarette sales allowed except in 7 states - Bihar, Kerala, Karnataka, Punjab, Mizoram, Jamma & Kashmir where ENDS are banned. Delhi & Maharashtra were also considering a ban. However recent advice from the Government Ministry of Welfare & Families issued in August 2018, advised all states to prohibit sales, import and advertisement of ecigarettes.

Notes on methodology & limitations

Data has been collected from a range of sources which are openly available online, such as vaping information/regulation websites & direct from country's legislation where available. In a few instances information has been included which was received from individuals specialising in the field. The regulatory picture changes frequently and these data boxes show the situation at time of going to press. This website will be updated as/when new regulatory information is received. There are gaps in the data available - readers are invited to send in updated information to the GSTHR team.

Country News

  • Friday, February 15, 2019
  • The future of tobacco control

  • Over 300 million people in India regularly use tobacco products, with a third using cigarette-type products and twice as many using oral tobacco. The use of these products causes over 1 million premature deaths annually in the country, and as the population and disposable income increases, this toll can be expected to worsen significantly.

    It’s is a public health catastrophe, and for many people the story ends there. [...]

  • Wednesday, February 06, 2019
  • India may revise plans to restrict the online promotion of vaping and e-cigarettes

  • India’s ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY) is likely to walk back the stance on vaping laid out as part of its proposed rules for policing internet content.

    This follows submissions made by India’s fledgling vaping community that using e-cigarettes is not as harmful as smoking or chewing tobacco, and therefore should not be included in the rules. ”We do not, in fact, understand vaping and ENDS (Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems). 

  • Tuesday, February 05, 2019
  • India’s move to regulate internet content has left e-cigarette users fuming

  • India’s plans to regulate internet content have put its vaping community at loggerheads with its government.

    The country’s ministry of electronics and IT proposed changes to India’s Information Technology (IT) Act last December that would require web platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, and Twitter to remove online content that promotes Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS). As a category, ENDS includes e-cigarettes and other methods of vaping, and currently occupies a legal grey area in India.

  • Thursday, January 24, 2019
  • Smokers alert — cigarette prices in India may rise even further

  • The price of cigarettes has risen significantly in recent months, but that has not deterred the country’s smokers. And the prices could rise even further. 

    ITC Limited, which controls over three-quarter of India’s cigarette market, showed that it’s revenue from the cigarettes sales in the last nine months fell 15% compared to the same time a year earlier. However, the earnings before interest and tax went up 9%; and it was still below expectations. 

  • Monday, January 21, 2019
  • Tobacco companies targeting children: Study

  • A report released on Wednesday finds that tobacco companies in India are systematically targeting children as young as eight by selling tobacco products and placing tobacco advertisements near schools.

    These tactics, happening all over the country, is a clear violation of Section 5 and 6 of Cigarettes & Other Tobacco Products Act, it said.

    To gather evidence regarding tobacco products being sold around educational institutions in violation of the law, two groups working in the area of tobacco control [...]

  • Monday, January 14, 2019
  • 'No regulation for printing of nicotine content on cigarette packets'

  • Food safety and standards authority of India (FSSAI) has submitted its reply before high court in a petition seeking printing of nicotine and tar content on cigarette packets, denying any regulation over smoking tobacco products or cigarettes.

    FSSAI submitted that they could only regulate food items and were taking steps towards exercising the ban on use of nicotine and tar in food products, including pan masala and gutka.