The High Court has asked the Jammu and Kashmir government to respond to a Public Interest Litigation seeking directions to allow sale and usage of e-cigarettes in the state.
A division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Tashi Rabstan granted six weeks to the government to file the response after state’s additional advocate General Shah Aamir sought the time.
One Mushtaq Ahmed Shah has filed the PIL in High Court seeking directions to the authorities to allow the use and sale of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) or e-cigarettes.
Shah pleads that a committee be constituted to conduct a proper research and analysis of ENDS and thereafter formulate rules and regulations for use and sale of ENDS. Conventional cigarette smoking, he submits, can easily be eradicated by making use of e-cigarettes which has “less harmful effects as compared to tobacco products”.
Notably, the Central Drug Regulator has directed all drug controllers in states and Union territories to not allow the manufacture, sale, import and advertisement of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems, including e-cigarettes and flavoured hookah, in their jurisdictions.
E-cigarettes are an electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS). J&K has the sixth highest tobacco usage rate among all Indian states, as per the latest Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS). As per the latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4), 38.2% men in J&K are addicted to some kind of tobacco usage. The only states which have a higher smoking rate than J&K are five north-eastern states of Mizoram, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura and Manipur.