(Reuters) - India became the latest country after Brazil and Thailand to ban the sale of e-cigarettes in what could potentially be the biggest move against vaping globally over growing health concerns.
The ban, which also covers the production, import and advertising of e-cigarettes, cuts off a huge future market from e-cigarette makers at a time when the number of people smoking worldwide is declining. India has 106 million smokers, second only to China.
It could also dash the expansion plans of companies such as Altria backed Juul Labs and Philip Morris International in the country.
Here are some countries who have banned or have restricted the use of e-cigarettes:
Vaping products and e-cigarettes have been banned since 2009 due to a lack of evidence regarding the alleged therapeutic properties and harmlessness of these products.
Sale of e-cigarettes, considered a product of tobacco, are banned in the city-state under its strict Tobacco Act, that also bans the sale and advertising of these products including cigars, cigarettes, chews.
The Asian country has banned the sale and use of e-cigarettes since 2014 for health reasons and because electronic cigarettes were luring young people into smoking. Being one of the most visited countries in the world, the use of e-cigarettes, with or without nicotine, even by travelers could lead to a heavy fine, according to guidelines from its embassy.
The Latin American country, which according to the World Health Organization is one of 15 countries worldwide with a heavy burden of tobacco-related ailments, prohibits the sale, distribution and manufacture of any product that resembles a tobacco product, including e-cigarettes that contain nicotine.
The country has banned use and sale of all types of e-cigarettes since the past couple of years, saying they are a health hazard and could be quite convenient and attractive for youth.
The country announced last week plans to remove flavored e-cigarettes from stores, warning that sweet flavors had drawn millions of children into nicotine addiction.
The ban would include mint and menthol flavoring as well as bubble gum, candy, fruit, alcohol and other flavors.
The move came after U.S. health authorities were investigating a handful of deaths and potentially hundreds of lung illnesses tied to vaping.
Does not ban vaping, but limits the strength of e-liquids and the size of their containers. Liquids with nicotine strength above 20 mg/ml have been prohibited, while e-liquid containers must have capacities of 10 ml or less.
There are also laws stating that manufacturers cannot claim that their products are safer than traditional cigarettes, even though Public Health England - a government agency that advises on health care issues - has stated that vaping is 95% safer than smoking.
Liquid nicotine is illegal in Japan.
Tight regulation of vaping has prompted aggressive marketing of heated tobacco products (HTP) instead. Japan accounts for over 90% of the world’s $5 billion HTP market, according to Euromonitor. Analysts estimate the category accounts for around a quarter of Japan’s overall tobacco sales.
Philip Morris’s iQOS has the biggest share, controlling around 80% of Japan’s heated tobacco category, followed by Japan Tobacco International and British American Tobacco.
China’s government has launched anti-smoking campaigns in an effort to improve public health. Earlier this year it released a draft document suggesting that China’s laws regulating e-cigarettes will eventually largely resemble those in Europe.
China is the world’s largest single market for tobacco consumption with over 300 million smokers and is already home to dozens of Chinese manufacturers such as Relx, Yooz and SNOW+ that have taken tens of millions of dollars in venture capital funding.
Juul entered China last week with online storefronts on e-commerce sites owned by Alibaba Group and JD.com, but days later their products were unavailable on the websites. The company did not say why sales were halted.
Allows adults to buy e-cigarette products that do not contain nicotine, but has banned those products that do contain the chemical, which is covered under the Controlled Substances Act 1984.
Possession or use of nicotine in e-cigarettes without approval is also illegal and the sale of non-nicotine e-cigarettes is illegal in some states.
Source - Government websites, Reuters data
Reporting by Siddharth Cavale and Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta