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Cabinet approves ordinance to ban e cigarettes; Rly employees to get bonus

The Cabinet also approved an ordinance to ban production, import, distribution and sale of electronic cigarettes. The decision to prohibit e-cigarettes will help protect the population, especially the youth and children, from the risk of addiction through E-cigarettes.

In a big bonanza to the employees of Indian Railways ahead of the festive season, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a bonus equivalent to 78 days wages for them. The productivity-linked bonus will benefit over 11.52 lakh railway employees. This is for the sixth consecutive year that productivity-linked bonus is being given to railway employees.

In another major decision concerning the health of youth, the Union Cabinet approved an ordinance for banning production, import, distribution and sale of electronic cigarettes. The ordinance also proposes a jail term for those violating the provisions.

As per the ordinance which will come into effect after the assent of the President, first-time violators will face a jail term of up to one year and a fine of Rs. one lakh. For subsequent violations, a jail term of up to three years or a fine of Rs. 5 lakh, or both have been proposed.

Storage of electronic-cigarettes shall also be punishable with an imprisonment up to 6 months or fine up to Rs 50,000 or both.

The owners of existing stocks of e-cigarettes on the date of commencement of the Ordinance will have to suomoto declare and deposit these stocks with the nearest police station.

The decision to ban e-cigarettes come on the back of an advisory issued by the Government in 2018 to all States to consider banning e-cigarettes. 16 States and 1 UT have already banned e cigarettes in their jurisdictions.

The Indian Council of Medical Research, in a recent white paper on the subject, also recommended a complete ban on e-cigarettes based on currently available scientific evidence. The WHO has also urged member countries to take appropriate steps including prohibiting these products.

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