Punjab smokes out e-commerce sites for e-cigarette sales

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Chandigarh, Aug 31 (IANS) The cyber crime wing of the Punjab Police and Punjab’s health department issued notices to various e-commerce portals for allegedly violating the Drugs and Cosmetics Act by selling e-cigarettes online.

Punjab Health Minister Surjit Kumar Jiyani said on Wednesday that Punjab’s Director General of Police (DGP) has been asked to take action against the sale of e-cigarettes on e-commerce portals.

“Earlier, the State Tobacco Control Cell also issued awareness notices to e-commerce sites that were violating the Drugs and Cosmetics Act with impunity by openly selling unapproved drugs like e-cigarettes,” the minister said.

He said an advisory was also issued by the Punjab government to make people aware about the ill effects of e-cigarettes.

“Punjab is the only state where implementation of Drugs and Cosmetics Act and other acts is being monitored regularly,” a spokesman said here.

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Principal Secretary (Health) Vini Mahajan said Punjab was the first state where e-cigarettes were declared as “unapproved drug” by the State Drug Controller since 2013.

She said it becomes significant to prohibit these internet portals from selling e-cigarettes.

“E-cigarettes are Electronic Nicotine Delivery System (ENDS) devices containing nicotine in chemical form which is highly addictive and lethal. Every other product which contains nicotine is unapproved. This is important as minors and youths are buying these addictive and potentially lethal products,” she added.

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Hussan Lal said court cases have been initiated in Ludhiana, Hoshiarpur and Mohali districts against vendors selling e-cigarettes.

One violator in Mohali district has been sentenced to three years’ jail with fine of Rs one lakh. It is first of its kind conviction in the country, Lal said.

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