Why not ban cigarettes too? Is the huge excise and GST collected more important than public health?

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Why not ban cigarettes too? Is the huge excise and GST collected more important than matters of public health?

Government has banned e-cigarettes because it is harmful to health but not banned cigarettes because it not harmful right? Is the huge excise and GST collected more important than public health? There’s even a limit to the hypocrisy that our government shows. Banning things keeping in mind your profit is not what our government should do.

The Government of India has decided to ban e-cigarettes as it feels these are harmful. While in 2015 the Drugs Consultative Committee (“DCC”) had agreed that ENDS is not a ‘drug’ under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, in 2019, the DCC has stated that ENDS is a ‘drug’ and therefore should be regulated under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940. More importantly, DCC has recommended a complete ban on the manufacture and import of ENDS under sections 26A and 10A of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940.

There is, therefore, a clear inconsistency and conflict when it comes to the stand taken by the Central government and the courts. It is worthwhile to note that public health is a state subject and therefore a decision in this regard may be taken by the states after consultation with the concerned stakeholders and after a thorough examination of the medical research and scientific publications in this regard.

If anything is per se harmful it should never be allowed in the interest of public health. At the same time, in the absence of clear scientific evidence, anything which is less harmful or not harmful cannot be banned when something else which is far more harmful is being allowed.

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