Karnataka government has banned electronic cigarettes in the state with effect from Wednesday.
"We have banned e-cigarettes today. The decision has been taken on the recommendation of the committee on cancer prevention," Minister for Health and Family Welfare U T Khader told PTI.
He said a study was conducted by the committee with an NGO on e-cigarettes, which said large number of youngsters was getting addicted to it.
"2mg and 4 mg nicotine is allowed in chewables like nicotine gum for de-addiction purpose, but these e-cigarettes usage is leading to addiction towards it," he said.
E-cigarettes mimic the size and shape of cigarettes and contain a cartridge containing liquid, which includes nicotine (up to 36 mg/ML) among other chemicals (usually propylene glycol or glycerol).
The government, in a circular, said the state has knowledge that Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems or e-cigarette and other similar products have been sold illegally (including online sale), without a obtaining valid license from appropriate authority specified by law.
It also pointed out that the use of nicotine in food products and consumption by public is banned under Food Safety and Standard Act 2006 and Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restriction on Sales) Regulation 2011.
"Nicotine is allowed as an aid for de-addiction in nicotine replacement therapy under Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940, it is not allowed for any other purpose under law.
"Therefore, the state government hereby prohibits the sale (including online sale), manufacture, distribution, trade, import and advertisement of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems, its parts and components in any shape or size of cartridges containing nicotine in the interest of public," the circular said.
The Indian Medical Association had in January discouraged the use of electronic cigarettes to cut down on smoking as these disguised forms of tobacco can have "serious" long-term effects on health.
"IMA believes that e-cigarettes, though not as harmful as normal cigarettes, are not healthy and their use should not be encouraged. Like hookahs, they are disguised forms of tobacco addiction and can have serious long-term effects on one's health," it had said.