Odisha police to launch month-long special drive against e-cigarette vendors | Bhubaneswar News timesofindia.indiatimes.com


BHUBANESWAR: The state Crime Branch has asked superintendents of police to launch a month-long special drive against e-cigarette vendors. Last month the Centre passed an ordinance to ban the e-cigarette and other vaping devices.
The Crime Branch issued a circular to the commissionerate police and SPs, narrating salient features of the promulgation of the prohibition of electronic cigarettes (production, manufacture, import, export, transport, sale, distribution, storage and advertisement) ordinance, 2019. “We have advised the commissionerate police and SPs to launch special drive and take necessary actions for proper implementation of the provisions of the ordinance. SPs should explain details of the ordinance to their field functionaries for smooth enforcement,” additional director general of police (Crime Branch) Santosh Upadhyay told TOI.
According to the ordinance, e-cigarettes are battery-operated devices that produce aerosol by heating a solution containing nicotine, which is the addictive substance in combustible cigarettes. Experts said the vaping devices pose serious health hazards.
Police said use of e-cigarettes is not alarming in Odisha, though police stations have been asked to gather intelligence about production, manufacture, sale and storage of such products under their jurisdictions. “We do not think e-cigarette has a bigger consumer base in the state. Still, we are alert. Police in urban areas, including Bhubaneswar should be more alert as e-cigarettes or e-hookahs may be peddled in bars and hotels,” a senior police officer said. Significantly, the Bhubaneswar police had recently raided some illegal hookah bars for selling dangerous psychotropic substances, marijuana, unfiltered tobacco and high amount of nicotine to attract youngsters.
Crime Branch said an officer in the rank of sub-inspector and above is authorized to conduct search and seizure and take up investigation against e-cigarette vendors. Quoting the ordinance, Crime Branch said “individual possession of e-cigarette for the purpose of personal consumption is not an offence”. All offences under the ordinance shall be tried in the court of judicial magistrate first class (JMFC). Violation of the provisions of the ordinance is a cognizable offence punishable with an imprisonment of up to one year or fine up to Rs 1 lakh or both for the first offence; and imprisonment of up to three years and fine up to Rs 5 lakh for second and frequent offences.

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