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HC asks Govt to file counter affidavit on e-cigarette petition
5/3/2019 12:12:38 AM
Early Times Report

Jammu, May 2: Following a PIL in the Jammu and Kashmir High Court by Mushtaq Ahmed Shah seeking the court's directions to the authorities for allowing the use and sale of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) or e-cigarettes, a division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Tashi Rabstan, has granted the state government one more opportunity to file a counter affidavit on the petition. It is understood that the Jammu and Kashmir Government has informed the court that they are working on a policy for regulation of ENDS and will be presenting the same on May 24, 2019. According to GATS-2 survey, 26.6 percent of Jammu & Kashmir's population uses tobacco products in some form, and the State ranks number 6 in India in terms of tobacco smoking. While tobacco control has been an active area of interventions by both Centre and J&K state government, despite a mix of economic deterrents and awareness efforts, cigarette volumes have been slow to decline. In fact, cigarette volumes are only declining by ~2.2% annually in India, despite prices going up by ~3.5X in the last 8 years. Commenting on this, Professor R. N. Sharan, North-Eastern Hill University, who recently released the first Indian study on Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), said, "There is a growing body of scientific evidence to show that ENDS could be at least95% less harmful than traditional cigarettes or bidis. Many countries that have regulated ENDS are already witnessing record reductions in smoking rates. In the UK, smoking rate fell to 15% in 2017 and in the US, cigarette sales volumes dropped by 5.3% in 2016-17 alone." In stark contrast to global trends, in August 2018, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare issued an advisory to the states to ensure that ENDS are not sold, manufactured, imported, distributed or advertised in their jurisdictions. However, in November 2018, the Delhi High Court held that the Advisory is not binding on the states.
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