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Lok Sabha members support bill on e-cigarettes but question wide use of tobacco

ANI | Updated: Nov 26, 2019 22:55 IST

New Delhi [India], Nov 26 (ANI): Members in Lok Sabha on Tuesday supported a bill that seeks to prohibit production, manufacture, import, export, transport, sale or distribution of electronic cigarettes but said the Centre should also take steps to curb use of cigarettes and other forms of tobacco use which was much more widely prevalent.
Taking part in the discussion on the Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Transport, Sale, Distribution, Storage, and Advertisement) Bill, 2019, Trinamool Congress MP Saugata Roy said that his party was against smoking as it causes lung cancer and should be banned.
However, he said that the bill does not touch people who smoke cigarettes or consume gutka or chewing tobacco.
"The government had brought the bill which concerns a miniscule population and 99.98 per cent people had been left out. The bill does not touch people who smoke cigarettes or consume gutka or chewing tobacco" he said.
The member said that prohibition is not always effective and hiking price of e-cigarettes to put them beyond the reach of people may be a more effective method.
The bill will replace an ordinance brought in September this year. The bill provides for punishment for contravention of provisions of the Act with imprisonment which may extend to one year or with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees or with both.
Participating in the debate, BSP member Malook Nagar said the e-cigarettes are consumed by relatively well-off people who also have money to get treated if they fall sick.
He said the government has brought a bill to ban e-cigarettes but the poor and middle class continue to consume cigarettes, bidi, kheni and other forms of tobacco which causes cancer.
He said MPs are flooded with cases of people affected by cancer who want help in treatment.
"The question is government wants to save the poor or the rich," he said.
AIMIM member Syed Imtiaz Jaleel said that if gutka, pan masala that are being sold in the market are tested in a laboratory, it will be found that it is not gutka or pan masala but poison. He said he wanted to raise the issue before the Health Minister.
Congress member Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said he was against the adoption of ordinance route by the government. He accused the government of being "ordinance-addicted".
Chowdhury said the government needs to thoroughly discuss issues regarding conventional cigarettes.
BJP member Varun Gandhi said nicotine was harmful to health and e-cigarettes were bringing down the smoking age. Health and Family Minister Harsh Vardhan will reply to the debate on Wednesday. (ANI)