Health Ministry Issue Notices to 15 Websites for Selling E-Cigarettes, Vendors Selling Harmful Device to Children

The Health Ministry has sent notices to 15 websites for selling e-cigarettes despite a ban imposed a few years ago. These websites have been directed to stop advertising and selling e-cigarettes. Apart from this, notice can also be sent to six more websites soon. Advertisements and sales related to it on social media are being closely monitored by the ministry.

In this regard, official sources said that 15 websites have been given ‘takedown notices’, four have stopped functioning and the rest have not responded. A source said, “If these websites do not respond and do not follow the law, then the Health Ministry will write to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to take down these websites. Appropriate legal action will be taken against these websites.” Four years ago, the central government enacted an act banning the production, import, export, transport, sale, distribution, storage and distribution of e-cigarettes.

The notice sent by the Health Ministry to these websites states, “We have noticed online advertisement and sale of illegal e-cigarettes on your platform, which is prohibited under the law. You should not harm the evidence in any way.” without being directed to remove it.” The notice warns that legal action can be taken against the website if this instruction is not followed.

In February, the ministry had written to all states and union territories asking them to ensure effective implementation of the ban on e-cigarettes. Along with this, it was feared that e-cigarettes are available online and with local vendors. In this regard, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan had said in a letter to the Chief Secretaries that there have been reports of e-cigarettes being sold near stationery stores and educational institutions. This makes this product easily available to children. After this, through another public notice in May, the ministry had asked for strict compliance of the law banning it. Apart from this, manufacturers, importers, exporters, distributors, advertisers, transporters, social media websites and online shopping websites of e-cigarettes were warned about this.

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