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Confiscation at airports, e-cigarette users cry foul, says law allows personal use

Despite the new e-cigarette prohibition law excluding personal use, e-cigarette users are reporting seizures of their devices at airports across the country after the civil aviation ministry issued an ambiguous circular, according to the Association of Vapers India.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Jan 21, 2020, 08.22 PM IST
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Despite the new e-cigarette prohibition law excluding personal use, e-cigarette users are reporting seizures of their devices at airports across the country after the civil aviation ministry issued an ambiguous circular, according to the Association of Vapers India.

On January 10, the civil aviation ministry issued a notice banning transport of e-cigarettes at Indian airports and aircraft citing the E-cigarette Prohibition Bill passed in Parliament in December 2019. This has led to confiscation of vaping devices from travellers passing through Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Delhi and Bhavnagar airports, it said in a press release.

The Association objected to the seizures insisting that it violates the law and fundamental rights of citizens. Association director Samrat Chowdhery said, "During the Lok Sabha debate on the e-cigarette bill, Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan had assured Parliament that personal use is excluded from the ambit of this law as it would criminalise laypeople and violate fundamental rights.”

"Despite this, e-cigarette users are now being hauled up at airports and their vape devices are being confiscated. This is illegal and aviation authorities should immediately advise their staff to desist from harassing travelers. This will also severely impact tourism. Even Thailand where e-cigarettes are not allowed does not harass air travelers in this manner," he added.

Dhruva Kudva, an IT professional whose vaping devices were confiscated at Bangalore airport on January 16, said, “First, the government took an illogical decision by banning e-cigarettes to deny smokers a less harmful alternative to smoking. Now they are harassing people by confiscating devices even though the health ministry has repeatedly stated personal use is not an offence,” the press release said.

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