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Online sales compliance with the electronic cigarettes ban in India: a content analysis



To investigate the availability of and to characterise the internet electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) vendors (IEVs) that continued to sell vaping devices in an Indian city despite the promulgation of an Indian Ordinance on 18th September 2019 that prohibits e-cigarettes nation-wide.


A structured internet search engine queries to identify IEVs. Subsequently, a content analysis to all identified IEVs was performed to check if they delivered vaping products to a New Delhi address (non-compliant with Indian Ordinance). Those non-compliant IEVs were then described according to some characteristics of interest.


Sixteen out of 45 identified IEVs (35.6%) were not compliant with the Indian Ordinance. Amongst them, half were general e-commerce, 75.0% did not apply any age verification methods, and 56.3% did not feature health or safety warnings on their websites. Many of these IEVs employed a wide range of promotional strategies, such as price discounts, health benefits claims, and social networks utilisation.


E-cigarettes were still highly available and accessible in an Indian capital city through online sales following a bold step taken by the country to totally ban vaping products.

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Fig. 1
Fig. 2

source, taken on 7th December 2019, New Delhi, India, 2019


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Authors would like to thank Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use, supporting the Tobacco Control Unit at The Union South-East Asia Office (The Union), New Delhi. We also thank “La Caixa” Foundation for providing PhD fellowship to BA, and the Ministry of Universities and Research, Government of Catalonia for partly funding the Tobacco Control Research Group at ICO-IDIBELL (BA, EF, MF).


This study received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

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Correspondence to Beladenta Amalia.

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Amalia, B., Kapoor, S., Sharma, R. et al. Online sales compliance with the electronic cigarettes ban in India: a content analysis. Int J Public Health 65, 1497–1505 (2020).

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  • E-cigarettes
  • ENDS
  • Policy
  • India
  • Internet
  • Sales