New Delhi, Sep 19 : A day after the government decided to ban e-cigarettes and hookah bars, vaping devices were still being sold on Amazon.in.
While some platforms including Flipkart and portals like Vapestop and Litejoy removed e-cigarettes from their online platforms, Amazon.in was still selling such products, according to product listings reviewed by IANS.
Amazon offered several pen-shaped smoking vipes on its platform, like reusable food grade plastic cleaning stone tobacco cigarette filter (Swasmok), Metier 3-inch metal small discreet lipstick smoking pipe, Metier 4-inch tall bud bomb predator Aluminum hand smoking pipe (Bud Bomb) and 'Honey Badger' smart electric smoke device with USB charging cable combo pack (1 black device + 4 classic tobacco pods) ? in the range of Rs 200-Rs 3,000.
When contacted, Amazon.in said it is an online marketplace enabling third-party sellers to list and offer goods for sale to customers in India.
"The products listed for sale on the Marketplace are owned and/or sold by such third-party sellers and the sellers are themselves responsible for compliance with all applicable laws," the e-commerce giant told IANS in a statement.
"Tobacco products, including Electronic Nicotine Delivery System (ENDS), commonly known as electronic cigarette/e-cigarettes containing tobacco or nicotine are not allowed to be listed or sold on amazon.in as per Amazon policy," the company added.
Amazon.in said that in case, sellers list such products evasively and the same is brought to its knowledge, the company "delists such products and takes appropriate enforcement action against such sellers."
A Flipkart spokesperson said in a statement: "We are aware of the ordinance and immediately alerted our teams to work with sellers to remove all products off the platform."
"We will continue to monitor the listings to ensure that these products are not available on the platform," the spokesperson added.
Vapestop wrote on its website's opening page: "The website in no longer accessible in India due to the current ban on ENDS by the Government of India."
With the promulgation of the ordinance, production, sale, distribution, import or even advertisement of ENDS would attract penalty of up to Rs 5 lakh and a 3-year jail term or both for repeat offence.
After the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said vaping or e-cigarettes appear cool but a lot of health concerns had been raised against them.
"The decision has been taken keeping in mind health of the youth," she said, citing recommendations of premier medical institutes.
ENDS includes e-cigarettes, heat-not-burn devices, vape, e-sheesha, e-nicotine flavoured hookah and other similar devices.
E-cigarettes and other ENDS products are imported. Juul is one of the popular brands among youth. As many as 400 different brands of ENDS are imported and sold in the country.