New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The upper house of the parliament Rajya Sabha on Monday passed the Prohibition of Electronic cigarettes (including Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Transport, Sale, Distribution, Storage and Advertisement) Bill, 2019. "We have done it with very pious intention. There is no vested interest," Health Minister Harsh Vardhan told the House in his reply on the bill. 

Lok Sabha had earlier passed the bill on Wednesday, with Vardhan, calling the ban as a “pre-emptive strike" on the “hazardous" addiction. The government had said that it wants to save the large youth population of the country that would have been targeted by e-cigarette companies. 

The government had issued ordinance to ban e-cigarettes in September this year. The new law would replace the ordinance.

During the debate on the bill, some members expressed angst that the government had brought this bill under pressure from the tobacco lobby and demanded the ban to be extended to all kinds of tobacco and cigarettes. The minister said that he will be the happiest person earth if 'tobacco' is banned completely.

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The bill defines e-cigarettes as electronic devices that heat a substance that may contain nicotine and other chemicals, to create vapour for inhalation.

The bill provides imprisonment of up to one year and a fine of up to one lakh rupees. For a subsequent offense, fine up to Rs five lakh will be charged.

Under the Bill, no person is allowed to use any place for storing the e-cigarettes. If they are found breaching the rules, he/she will be imprisoned for up to six months and slapped with a fine of up to fifty thousand rupees or both.

If any authorised officer feels that any provision of the Bill has been violated, the concerned person can search any place where trade, production, storage or advertising of e-cigarettes is taking place.

(with PTI inputs)

Posted By: James Kuanal