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India bans e-cigarette sales and says there’s an ‘epidemic’ of kids vaping

India has banned e-cigarettes as US health inspectors investigate a series of deaths linked to vaping. Reuters reports that an executive order prohibits selling, producing, importing, or advertising e-cigarettes. First offenders could receive up to one year in prison and a 100,000 rupee ($1,400) fine; later violations could cost up to three years and 500,000 rupees. The ban doesn’t apply to actually using e-cigarettes — but it means users can’t legally buy refills for their vapes.

Traditional cigarettes are legal in India, although they’re highly taxed. E-cigarettes, however, have held a less certain position. The government has been weighing a ban for years, despite concerns over the legality of stopping imports, and Reuters reported on a draft of this week’s order back in August. “These novel products come with attractive appearances and multiple flavours and their use has increased exponentially and acquired epidemic proportions in developed countries, especially among youth and children,” said a spokesperson from India’s health ministry…