RESEARCH PAPER
E-cigarette retailer storefront availability following a nationwide prohibition of e-cigarettes in India: A multicentric compliance assessment
Beladenta Amalia 1, 2, 3, 4  
,  
Shivam Kapoor 5
,  
Renu Sharma 5
,  
 
 
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1
Tobacco Control Unit, Catalan Institute of Oncology, WHO Collaborating Centre for Tobacco Control, L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain
2
Tobacco Control Research Group, Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute, L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain
3
School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
4
Consortium for Biomedical Research in Respiratory Diseases, Madrid, Spain
5
International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union), South-East Asia Office, New Delhi, India
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR
Beladenta Amalia   

Tobacco Control Unit, Catalan Institute of Oncology (ICO). Av. Granvia de l’Hospitalet, 199-203, 08908, L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain
Publication date: 2020-07-15
Submission date: 2020-03-26
Final revision date: 2020-05-27
Acceptance date: 2020-06-09
 
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2020;6(July):42
KEYWORDS
TOPICS
ABSTRACT
Introduction:
This study aimed to assess the availability of retailer storefronts that continued to sell electronic nicotine/non-nicotine delivery systems (ENDS/ ENNDS) in India, and characterise such retailers following the promulgation of 2019 Indian Ordinance and Act (Ordinance/Act) that prohibit ENDS/ENNDS nationwide.

Methods:
Discreet observations were conducted of retailer storefronts across different socioeconomic zones in nine major cities of India (Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Dehradun, Delhi, Indore, Kolkata, Ludhiana, Raipur, and Ranchi) from 28 November 2019 to 22 January 2020 to identify the availability of ENDS/ ENNDS (i.e. electronic cigarettes, e-cigarette liquid, e-cigarette accessories, heated tobacco products (HTPs), and HTPs accessories). We report the number and proportion (%) of retailers that sold ENDS/ENNDS. Other characteristics of the retailers are also described, including indirect evaluation of the retailer’s awareness of the Ordinance/Act.

Results:
Of the 199 retailer storefronts visited, 37 (18.6%) sold ENDS/ENNDS and, therefore, did not comply with the Ordinance/Act. The highest availability of non-compliant retailers was in Kolkata (n=26; 83.9%). The majority of the non-compliant retailers were tobacco retailers (n=35; 94.6%), sold e-cigarettes (n=22; 59.5%), and e-cigarette accessories (n=24; 64.9%). Although many of the non-compliant retailers displayed their ENDS/ENNDS products (n=33; 89.2%) and did not feature health warnings related to ENDS/ENNDS (n=32; 86.5%) in the stores, nearly 90% (n=33) were aware of the Ordinance/Act.

Conclusions:
Despite a nationwide ban, ENDS/ENNDS are still available in major cities in India, and concentrated in a particular city. Indian authorities should focus on law enforcement to ensure that the prohibition is effectively implemented.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
We 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 acknowledge contribution from The Union State Partners managing Bloomberg Initiative grants projects at subnational level: Government of Karnataka (Bangalore), Generation Saviour Association (Chandigarh, Ludhiana), Balajee Sewa Santhan (Dehradun), Madhya Pradesh Voluntary Health Association (Indore), Manbhum Ananda Ashram Nityananda Trust (Kolkata), Government of Chhattisgarh (Raipur), and Socio Economic and Educational Development Society (Ranchi). We also thank ‘La Caixa’ Foundation for providing a 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, Spain.
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
The authors have completed and submitted the ICMJE Form for Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest and none was reported.
FUNDING
There was no source of funding for this research.
AUTHORS' CONTRIBUTIONS
RJS had the original idea for the study. BA, SK, and RS contributed to the finalization of the survey tool. All authors coordinated with the data collectors for the data collection in the field. BA carried out the analysis with the supervision of SK and RJS. BA wrote the first draft of the manuscript in collaboration with all other authors. BA, SK, and RJS made substantial contributions to conception, design, and interpretation of data. All the authors contributed to manuscript preparation and approved its final version prior to submission.
PROVENANCE AND PEER REVIEW
Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
 
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