The Punjab today became the first state in the country to issue directive to all district police chiefs to lodge FIRs against E-Commerce companies selling E-Cigarettes via online shopping portals despite complete ban on sale of E-cigarettes.Taking a stern action against the illegal sale of e-cigarettes thereby influencing most of the youth especially the school going population, the Punjab government would register FIR against e-commerce companies for openly selling e-cigarettes in the state.In a statement issued here today, Mr. Surjit Kumar Jayani, Health Minister sought the help of people to cooperate the police in registering the FIR against the e-commerce companies on the basis of the bills of the e-cigarette product sent by these companies.
He said that it has been observed that there is no check on the sale of cigarettes through internet. Most of our youth are susceptible to the use of computers and have a free access to the internet not only in the homes but even in schools and colleges also. To make them aware of the ill-effects of E-cigarettes, the government has sought the help of the NGOs and VOs along with the authorities of the educational institutions advising them to stay away from tobacco and other products.To implement Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) effectively in Punjab, all the state drug inspectors have been directed to initiate complaints against the illegal sale of e-cigarettes and the district police chiefs have been directed to ensure prompt action on the complaints so that strict legal action could be initiated against the erring companies.
Cautioning the Public, Hussan Lal Commissioner Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said that the use of e-cigarette can damage heart, arteries and lungs and increase the risk for heart attack, stroke & chronic lung diseases. Expressing concern over a significant rise in e-cigarette use each year, especially among young adults and teens, he said that Likewise, e-cigarette use among teens has surged. Sale of E-Cigarettes which are easily available through internet is becoming popular in small towns endangering the life of people especially youngsters who are computer savvy. It is being freely sold to even minors by online portals.
State Drug Controller, Mr. Ajay Singla also warned that the e-cigarette cartridges and e-liquid bottles are not equipped with child-resistant caps, often leak, creating a poisoning risk by ingestion or by skin or eye contact. These products are not safe. He has also directed all Drug Inspectors regarding reporting online sale of E-Cigarettes. Citizens are advised to report to local Drug Inspectors with the bill obtained by them so that FIR can be launched against the E-Commerce companies.