A fifth Indian state has banned vapor products. Jammu and Kashmir joins Karnataka, Punjab, Maharashtra and Kerala in prohibiting sales of e-cigarettes. Combustible cigarettes remain legal in all five states.
“A complete ban has been imposed on the sale (including online sale), manufacture, distribution, trade, import and advertisement of Electronic Nicotine Delivery System (ENDS)/ e-cigarettes in the state with immediate effect,” said a statement issued by Directorate of Health Services Kashmir, according to The Economic Times. The Directorate of Health Services also runs the State Tobacco Control Cell.
The ban is typical of the policy measures encouraged by the World Health Organization (WHO) and its Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (FCTC). “The decision on electronic nicotine delivery systems and electronic non-nicotine delivery systems (ENDS/ENNDS) invites Parties that have not yet banned the importation, sale and distribution of ENDS/ENNDS to consider either prohibition or regulating such products,” said the official press release from last year’s FCTC conference.
According to an unnamed delegate at the FCTC conference, India may be planning a national ban. “Other countries might choose to restrict access,” he told The Hindu newspaper. “India has taken a unified stand against ENDS as there are enough tobacco products in the market already. It will take us years to understand the full effects of ENDS products. There is not enough research and a complete prohibition will help prevent more tobacco-related illnesses.”
Jammu and Kashmir is in the northern part of the country, in the Himalayas, and shares disputed borders with both China and Pakistan. It is the only Muslim-majority state in India.