Cigarette manufacturers’ shares surge after government bans e-cigarettes

On Wednesday, shares of cigarette manufacturers rallied after the cabinet approved a ban of e-cigarettes, prohibiting its manufacture and sale in India.

ITC, Godfrey Phillips and other cigarette makers gained on the bourses as the government on Wednesday banned sale of e-cigarettes. Shares of Godfrey Philips closed 5.55 per cent up at Rs 990.95 per share, while ITC finished 1.03 per cent higher at Rs 239.60. VST Industries and Golden Tobacco also gained, ending the day 3.43 per cent and 4.69 per cent higher, respectively.

Unlike traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes do not burn, but heat up a liquid. These also come in various flavours including such as bubble gum, chocolate etc. These typically contain nicotine, and turn into vapour when inhaled. The government’s decision comes a day after New York became the second US state to ban flavoured e-cigarettes following a string of vaping-linked deaths.

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said in a tweet that possession of e-cigarettes or similar devices will be punishable by up to six months in prison, a fine of Rs 50,000 ($700) or both. In her address, FM Nirmala Sitharaman said that e-cigarettes were promoted as a way to get people out of their smoking habits but reports have shown that many are becoming addicted to them. Notably, more than 900,000 people die each year in India due to tobacco-related illnesses. India has 106 million adult smokers, second only to China in the world, according to a Reuters report.

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