The Department of Revenue has written to all chief commissioners of Customs to ensure the implementation of the advisory issued by Union Health Ministry banning the use of Electronic Nicotine Delivery System (ENDS).
ENDS includes e-cigarettes, heat-not-burn devices, vape, e-shisha, e-nicotine-flavoured hookah and other devices that enable nicotine delivery.
The circular by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs urged the chief commissioners to direct all officers to ensure implementation of the advisory by referring import consignments of ENDS to the deputy drugs controller.
“The Assistant/ Deputy Drugs Controllers may thereafter check the compliance of such goods in terms of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and rules made thereunder,” the circular dated November 28 read.
Based on the report, non-compliant consignments should not be allowed clearance and appropriate action should be initiated for violation of the provisions of the Act, it said.
The Union health ministry had issued an advisory to all states last year to ensure ENDS are not sold, manufactured, distributed, traded, imported and advertised in any manner.
The move came in the wake of the Delhi Hight Court taking strong exception to the Centre for delay in coming up with regulatory measures to tackle the “new emerging threat” of e-cigarettes in the country.
Nine Indian states — Bihar, Chandigarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Mizoram, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh — have already have prohibited its sale, manufacture, distribution and import, an official said.
Available scientific evidences indicate that any of the ENDS and similar technologies that encourage tobacco use or adversely impact public health are hazardous for an active as well as passive user. The chemicals used as solvents are also hazardous chemicals.
According to a report prepared by the World Health Organization, ENDS, also known as e-cigarettes, emits nicotine, the addictive component of tobacco products.