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E-cigarettes may damage your health, French study finds

A Paris shopkeeper shows off an e-cigarette
A Paris shopkeeper shows off an e-cigarette Reuters/Charles Platiau

A French consumer advocacy group says that electronic cigarettes are not as harmless as manufacturers make them out to be. A study found metals and other potentially dangerous elements in the devices.

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The National Consumer Institute, as reported in its monthly magazine 60 million de consammateurs, used a new technique to look at 10 different reusable and disposable e-cigarette models, and concluded that some contain elements, including metals, that are a health-risk.

Three out of 10 e-cigarettes tested contained as much formaldehyde as ordinary cigarettes, the group claims, and other toxic substances, including acrolein, propylene glycol, which increases risks of respiratory and immune deficiency problems, chrome and nickel.

E-cigarette sales are booming in France, where a million people smoke them, according to vendors.

But the battery-operated devices, which vaporise liquid nicotine, remain unregulated so far.

The survey found that several products contained less nicotine than advertised, which may mean that potentially dangerous products are used, and that some had not security control to stop children, who can be badly affected by nicotine, using them.

In May French Health Minister Marisol Touraine announced that the ban on smoking regular cigarettes in public spaces would be extended to e-cigarettes.

France should come up with manufacturing standards for the devices, to ensure consumer safety, told Christian De Thuin, the Consumer Institute’s technical director.

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