Published in IJCP August 2019
RTI
Analysis of Ends RTI
August 16, 2019 | KK Aggarwal, Ira Gupta
     


The government is planning to ban Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) in India contending that using ENDS will push the youth to smoking cigarettes. Various advisories, policies, etc., have been issued by both the Central as well as various State Governments thereby banning the manufacture, import, sale and purchase of ENDS.

It is quite surprising that while the governments at Central as well as at State levels are making efforts for banning ENDS, in reality, there is no law in India, neither at the Central level nor in any State, regulating or even defining ENDS.

So, to understand why and how the governments are issuing various advisories, regulations, policies, etc., thereby banning ENDS, Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) wrote numerous Right to Information (RTI) applications to the Central Government as well as all State Governments.

More than 40 RTI applications have been filed by HCFI to various departments of Central Government and State Governments. However, only half of the RTI applications have been replied by them.

It is quite astonishing that both Central and State Governments are issuing various advisories, regulations thereby banning ENDS when in fact the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) in two of its replies has specifically stated that e-cigarettes cannot be regulated under the provisions of Drugs and Cosmetics Act, as they are not covered under the definition of drugs.

Some of the answers received are:

  • Reply dated 11.2018 received from DGHS to the RTI application dated 31.10.2018 stating that “Point No. 1 to 20: It is to inform you that, the proposal of regulation of e-cigarettes has already been deliberated in 48th Drugs Consultative Committee (DCC) meeting held on 24.07.2015 and DCC opined that e-cigarettes cannot be regulated under the provisions of Drugs and Cosmetics Act as e-cigarettes are not covered under the definition of the term drug.”
  • The reply from Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) dated 26.11.2018 stated that as per Section 2.3.4 of the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restrictions on sales) Regulations, 2011, “Product not to contain any substance which may be injurious to health: Tobacco and nicotine shall not be used as ingredients in any food product.”
  • Reply dated 11.2018 received from DGHS to the RTI application dated 08.11.2018 stated that “Point No. 1 to 11: It is to inform you that, the proposal of regulation of e-cigarettes has already been deliberated in 48th Drugs Consultative Committee (DCC) meeting held on 24.07.2015 and DCC opined that e-cigarettes cannot be regulated under the provisions of Drugs and Cosmetics Act as e-cigarettes are not covered under the definition of the term drug”.
  • Reply dated 04.2019 received from Delhi Government thereby confirming that a letter dated 22.02.2019 has been issued by the Central Government and the matter is sub judice in the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi.
  • Reply dated 04.2019 received from West Bengal Government thereby confirming that a letter dated 22.02.2019 has been issued by the Central Government and stating that action regarding the process to ban ENDS in our state was initiated much earlier on 21.06.2018 vide File No. H/TDE/3D-11/2018 and the file has been approved and sent to higher authority for issuing notification by Directorate of Drugs Control, Govt. of West Bengal on 30.08.2018. The Final issuance of notification to ban e-cigarettes is awaited to be issued by Govt. of WB.
  • Reply dated 04.2019 received from Uttarakhand Government thereby confirming that a letter dated 22.02.2019 has been issued by the Central Government and an office order has been issued to all Senior Drugs Inspectors/Drugs Inspector of the state for proper enforcement and implementation of the said order of Govt. of India. Copies of both the orders are also provided.
  • Reply dated 04.2019 received from Himachal Pradesh Government thereby confirming that a letter dated 22.02.2019 has been issued by the Central Government.
  • Reply dated 05.2019 received from Uttar Pradesh Government thereby confirming that a letter dated 22.02.2019 has been issued by the Central Government.
  • Reply dated 05.2019 received from Madhya Pradesh Government thereby saying that the information sought is personal information so the same cannot be shared.
  • Reply dated 05.2019 received from Karnataka Government provided the copy of the Circular dated 22.04.2019 issued by Government of Karnataka, Drugs Control Department along with the copy of the letter dated 22.02.2019 and advisory dated 28.08.2018 of Central Government.
  • Reply dated 07.2019 received from Assam Government stating that “no letter has been received by the State Nodal Officer, NTCP, Assam issued by Drugs Controller General of India, Directorate of Health Services, CDSCO, Ministry of Health dated 22.02.2019.

Date

RTI Applications/Replies

26th September, 2018

RTI application to Central Government asking for list of NRT items.

26th September, 2018

RTI application to Central Government w.r.t. Notification dated 28.08.2018 issued by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

19th October, 2018

RTI application to Karnataka Government seeking copy of minutes of all meetings conducted by the Department of Health on ENDS.

19th October, 2018

RTI application to Central Government w.r.t. Notification dated 28.08.2018

19th October, 2018

RTI application to Drug Controller asking the amount of nicotine used in ENDS and other information.

19th October, 2018

RTI application w.r.t. Notification dated 28.08.2018:

i.     Mizoram

ii.    Kerala

iii.    Uttar Pradesh

iv.   Bihar

v.    Punjab

vi.   Jammu & Kashmir

19th October, 2018

RTI application to Kerala Government w.r.t. Notification dated 28.08.2018.

19th October, 2018

26th November, 2018

RTI application to FSSAI seeking information whether ENDS is considered as food item under FSSAI Act or not.

FSSAI reply dated 26.11.2018 stating that as per Section 2.3.4 of the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restrictions on sales) Regulations, 2011, “Product not to contain any substance which may be injurious to health: Tobacco and nicotine shall not be used as ingredients in any food product.

31st October, 2018

30th November, 2019

RTI application to DGHS

Reply dated 30.11.2018 received from DGHS to the RTI application dated 31.10.2018 stating that “Point No. 1 to 20: It is to inform you that, the proposal of regulation of e-cigarettes has already been deliberated in 48th Drugs Consultative Committee (DCC) meeting held on 24.07.2015 and DCC opined that e-cigarettes cannot be regulated under the provisions of Drugs and Cosmetics Act as e-cigarettes are not covered under the definition of the term drug.

8th November, 2018

30th November, 2019

RTI application to DGHS.

Reply dated 30.11.2018 received from DGHS to the RTI application dated 08.11.2018 stating that “Point No. 1 to 11: It is to inform you that, the proposal of regulation of e-cigarettes has already been deliberated in 48th Drugs Consultative Committee (DCC) meeting held on 24.07.2015 and DCC opined that e-cigarettes cannot be regulated under the provisions of Drugs and Cosmetics Act as e-cigarettes are not covered under the definition of the term drug.

08th November, 2018

9th January, 2019

RTI application to Delhi Government seeking information w.r.t. grants/donations from private NGO.

Reply by Delhi Government

28th November, 2018

29th December, 2018

RTI application to Gujarat Government w.r.t. Bloomberg Initiative to reduce tobacco use

Reply dated 29.12.2018 stating no such information available

28th November, 2018

29th December, 2018

RTI application to Tamil Nadu Government w.r.t. Bloomberg Initiative to reduce tobacco use

Reply dated 29.12.2018 stating funds were received by Tamil Nadu Government

28th November, 2018

RTI application to Mizoram Government w.r.t. Bloomberg Initiative to reduce tobacco use

6th March, 2019

12th April, 2019

22nd April, 2019

RTI applications dated 06.03.2019 w.r.t. letter dated 22.02.2019 issued by Drugs Controller General India sent to:

i.     Bihar

ii.    Delhi

iii.    DGHS, Ministry of Health, Union Government

iv.   West Bengal

v.    Rajasthan

Reply dated 12.04.2019 received from Delhi Government thereby confirming that a letter dated 22.02.2019 has been issued by the Central Government and the matter is sub judice in the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi.

Reply dated 22.04.2019 received from West Bengal Government thereby confirming that a letter dated 22.02.2019 has been issued by the Central Government and stating that action regarding the process to ban ENDS in our state was initiated much earlier on 21.06.2018 vide File No. H/TDE/3D-11/2018 and the file has been approved and sent to higher authority for issuing notification by Directorate of Drugs Control, Govt. of West Bengal on 30.08.2018. The Final issuance of notification to ban e-cigarettes is awaited to be issued by Govt. of WB.

18th March, 2019

 

 

23rd April, 2019

26th April, 2019

RTI applications dated 18.03.2019 w.r.t. letter dated 22.02.2019 issued by Drugs Controller General India sent to:

i.       Punjab

ii.      Chandigarh

iii.      Odisha

iv.     Uttar Pradesh

v.      Andhra Pradesh

vi.     Maharashtra

vii.     Goa

viii.    Karnataka

ix.     Kerala

x.      Andhra Pradesh

xi.     Madhya Pradesh

xii.     Assam

xiii.    Mizoram

xiv.    Uttarakhand

xv.    Nagaland

xvi.    Meghalaya

xvii.   Agartala

xviii.  Himachal Pradesh

Reply dated 23.04.2019 received from Uttarakhand Government thereby confirming that a letter dated 22.02.2019 has been issued by the Central Government and an office order has been issued to all Senior Drugs Inspectors/Drugs Inspector of the state for proper enforcement and implementation of the said order of GOI. Copies of both the orders are also provided.

Reply dated 26.04.2019 received from Himachal Pradesh Government thereby confirming that a letter dated 22.02.2019 has been issued by the Central Government.

8th May, 2019

14th May, 2019

16th May, 2019

3rd July, 2019

Reply dated 08.05.2019 received from Uttar Pradesh Government thereby confirming that a letter dated 22.02.2019 has been issued by the Central Government.

Reply dated 14.05.2019 received from Madhya Pradesh Government thereby saying that the information sought is personal information so the same cannot be shared.

Reply dated 16.05.2019 received from Karnataka Government providing the copy of the Circular dated 22.04.2019 issued by Government of Karnataka, Drugs Control Department along with the copy of the letter dated 22.02.2019 and advisory dated 28.08.2018 of Central Government.

Reply dated 03.07.2019 received from Assam Government stating that “no letter has been received by the State Nodal Officer, NTCP, Assam issued by DCGI, Directorate of Health Services, CDSCO, Ministry of Health dated 22.02.2019.