The High Court of Delhi, India, has stayed the Central Government’s attempt to ban electronic cigarettes in the country under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, saying that these products do not fall within the Act’s definition of a drug, according to a story in the Bar & Bench, relayed by the TMA.
Two e-cigarette companies, Litejoy International Pvt Ltd and M/S Focus Brands Trading were said to have petitioned the court in response to a February 22 Communication from the Directorate General of Health Services asking state licensing authorities to prohibit the sale, manufacture, distribution, importation and advertisement of e-cigarettes and ENDS [electronic nicotine delivery systems] in their jurisdictions.
The petitioners argued that ENDS were less risky substitutes for combustible cigarettes and that the Government’s decision affected the right of consumers to choose e-cigarettes in place of cigarettes.
Additional Solicitor General, Maninder Acharya, submitted that since ENDS assisted smokers to give up their tobacco addiction, ENDS and all other devices fell within the definition of ‘drugs’ as defined under Section 3(b) of the Act.
The court observed that the devices were not sold as therapeutic devices so the Central Government did not have the jurisdiction to issue the circular.
The government has two weeks to issue its response and the case will be heard on May 17.