Pune, 17th January 2024: The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, has taken a strong stance on the enforcement of the Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes Act 2019 (PECA). In a recent communication to the Director General of Police (DGP), Maharashtra, the ministry urged the issuance of necessary instructions to all police stations in the state for the stringent monitoring and enforcement of the ban on electronic cigarettes and similar devices.
The additional secretary of the Union Health Ministry, V Hekali Zhimomi, emphasized the need for proper implementation of PECA 2019 and directed the DGP to ensure that officers, not below the rank of Sub Inspector, take appropriate action against violations. The ministry has been receiving complaints about the continued sale of electronic cigarettes, indicating a possible lapse in inspection and monitoring at the state level.
The ministry also called for collaboration with law enforcement agencies to provide data on monthly crime meetings related to violations reported under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act 2003 (COTPA) and PECA. This data will be uploaded on the IMS portal for monitoring by the health ministry.
Despite the nationwide implementation of PECA 2019, concerns persist about the unauthorized sale of electronic cigarettes. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has also emphasized the urgent need to control e-cigarettes, citing potential health risks, especially to children and non-smokers. E-cigarettes are not proven to be effective in quitting tobacco use at the population level, and evidence suggests adverse health effects.
Pune City police have, on several occasions, seized contraband e-cigarettes in raids. In June 2023, the Social Security Cell of the crime branch conducted a raid in Camp, seizing e-cigarettes worth a total of ₹2.32 lakh from three shops. The ministry’s directive aims to curb the unauthorized sale and use of electronic cigarettes, aligning with global health recommendations.