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E-cigarettes use not included in India ban, will defend any court challenge: official

A saleswoman holds an e-cigarette as she demonstrates vaping at the Vape Shop that sells e-cigarette products in Beijing, China January 30, 2019. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India’s ban on electronic cigarettes will not apply to use of such devices and the government was prepared to defend its decision if it’s challenged in a court, a senior health ministry official told Reuters on Wednesday.

India banned the sale of electronic cigarettes and warned of an “epidemic” among young people, in the latest and potentially biggest move against vaping globally over growing health concerns.

The ban applies to manufacture, import, sale, advertisement, and distribution of e-cigarettes. Vikas Sheel, a senior federal health ministry official, said it would not apply on use of such devices.

“Over a period of time, people will not get their (vape) refills, so they will become responsible,” Sheel said.

The health ministry also expects that the ban order will be challenged in court, but it was prepared to defend it, Sheel added.

Reporting by Aditya Kalra; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani