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E-Commerce Website Rush to Remove Vaping Products

Amazon.com, Walmart-owned Flipkart and other e-commerce websites in India hunted for vaping products on Thursday the day after the federal government enforced a national prohibition on e-cigarettes.

Warning of the “outbreak” among youthful individuals, India forbade sales, manufacturing, export and marketing of e-cigarettes, putting a boost to intentions by businesses such as Philip Morris International and Juul Labs to distribute products in India.

Websites such as Vapestop and Litejoy, which provided paving products online, stopped their activities and disclaimed the public comment.

Reuters discovered that vaping products, however, were still accessible on Amazon’s India page, while Flipkart and Softbank-backed Snapdeal deleted e-cigarettes that were accessible previously today.

“Online advertising and sales are banned. E-commerce service providers should take down the advertisements and sale offers immediately,” VikasSheel, a senior health ministry official told Reuters, when asked about the online listings.

Amazon’s India page sold the “Honey Badger” vape device, which features a USB flash drive, for 2,799 rupees ($39.35) with flavored refills. Flipkart also mentioned the item previously.

Amazon said “e-cigarettes are not allowed to be listed or sold on Amazon.co.in as per its policy and it takes action if it learns about sellers evasively listing a prohibited product.”

A source with immediate information said Amazon was operating to rapidly erase the products.

Flipkart said in a declaration that it was conscious of the prohibition requirement and that it was collaborating with the vendors to remove all such products.

Snapdeal, another leading e-commerce website in India, said “the e-cigarette category had been disabled.”

On Wednesday, India’s health ministry said “use of e-cigarettes had increased exponentially and acquired epidemic proportions in developed countries, especially among youth and children.”

“India’s ban was issued through an executive order, which has been in force since Wednesday night”, a health ministry spokeswoman said. In India, pro-vaping organizations condemned the government’s choice to dissuade individuals from changing from standard cigarettes to less damaging options.

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