New Delhi: As government prepares to ban the production and sale of e-cigarettes on health grounds, the Delhi-based traders' lobby group Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has opposed the move saying it will encourage smuggling.

It has argued that vaping cigarettes have become a choice of the youth now and hence instead of banning it government should come out with rules such as minimum age criteria for selling the product.

"A complete ban will encourage smuggling and lead to revenue loss for the government. We are, therefore, of the view that e-cigarettes should not be banned and instead rules and regulations be made for its sale," CAIT National Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said.

E-cigarettes or "vaping" are often marketed as a harmless product to help addicts to quit smoking.

They do not burn tobacco but heats the liquid chemicals into a vapour or steam that a person inhales. This is the reason it is also called vaping. E-cigarettes are considered harmful to health.

The Health Ministry has proposed to make the production, sale and consumption of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) including e-cigarettes, Heat-Not-Burn devices, Vape, e-Sheesha, e-Nicotine Flavoured Hookah, and the like devices citing health grounds.

The Ministry has also proposed an ordinance to effect complete ban in the country. Violation of the law would attract a fine and jail term.

"Ban is not a solution. Setting a higher age criteria for buying could be a better option," Khandelwal said.

Earlier, the Gujarat Tobacco Merchants Association (GTMA) and Gujarat Tobacco Growers and Merchants Association (GTGMA) had appealed the government to not ban e-cigarettes or other similar products arguing it will serve no purpose other than hurting the tobacco industry.

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