EMAILED ON September 19, 2019 BY Wes Schlagenhauf

Vape-hibition: India, one of the world’s largest smoking markets, quits e-cigs cold turkey

Yesterday, India’s government announced an immediate, full-stop prohibition of e-cigarettes, citing public health concerns for today’s youth.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in a statement that the ban covers all aspects of the market: production, manufacturing, import, export, transport, sale, distribution, storage, and advertising.

Sitharaman suggested that vaping is pushing today’s teens to get hooked on nicotine as a “style statement.” To support her argument, she pointed to the “surprising” growth in e-cig use among US middle-school students — up 48.5%, per stats she cited.

The vape seat is currently hot, hot, hot

Vaping was billed as a healthier alternative to cigarettes, positioning Juul, a market leader, for one of the fastest rises to unicorn status since Facebook. As its popularity grew, vaping became a hit among youngsters. 

Now, after the FDA accused Juul of illegal advertising toward teens, and the 7 official vape-related deaths in the US (not to mention the litany of studies outlining vape concerns), the mysterious health hazards raised about the habit have finally found validation. 

And the hit is slowly killing smoke powerhouses of all types

Last week, the US announced it will tighten its regulations on flavored e-cigs, and just a few days ago sales of Juul products were abruptly halted in China, days after they were introduced there.

Sources say Juul’s record high valuation of $300 per share at the beginning of the summer has since dipped 20% — pouring more salt on the already wounded investment from Philip Morris’ parent company, Altria. 

India could be the industry’s biggest burn yet

Per Reuters, India has around 106m adult smokers (compared to 34m in the US). The country’s vape market was valued at $57m in 2018, and was estimated to grow nearly 60% a year until 2022.

Now, startups like Juul will be shut out of the world’s 2nd-largest smoking market. Only China has more users.