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E-cigarette ban catastrophic: doctor

| June 3, 2013

Several doctors have spoken out against a decision by the French Health Minister, Marisol Touraine, banning the use of electronic cigarettes in certain public places, according to a story by Charlotte Boitiaux for France 24.

Touraine decided on Friday to establish “the same laws for electronic cigarettes as for regular cigarettes,” meaning that they will not be allowed to be used in certain public spaces, sold to those under 16 years of age or advertised.

According to Touraine, those who smoke electronic cigarettes might be endangering their health. “The electronic cigarette is not a harmless product,” she said in an interview on radio station France Info, adding that “tobacco is responsible for 73,000 deaths per year”.

But in a report published on May 28 by the French Office for Tobacco Prevention, no evidence was cited that smoking electronic cigarettes posed any health risk. ‘Right now, we don’t know enough about the products,’ the author of the report wrote, though ‘to our knowledge, appropriately made and used, it presents infinitely fewer dangers than [do] cigarettes’.

Boitiaux wrote that experts had suggested that Touraine acted with an excess of caution rather than face the possibility of health risks from e-cigarettes being discovered down the road. But this caution has not gone down well in some places. “The French minister was overly cautious, and her zeal is catastrophic,” judged Jean-François Etter, a professor of Public Health at the University of Geneva. “The e-cigarette is an alternative that can save millions of lives. I don’t understand these disappointing declarations, which go against the welfare of the population.”

Meanwhile, Dr. William Lowenstein, addiction specialist and president of the French association, SOS Addictions, also believes that the benefits of electronic cigarettes are undeniable. “There are none of the carcinogenic substances,” he said during a TV interview with France 5 on May 16. “Replacing the cigarette is a way of breaking the addiction to this cancer-causing product.”

Category: Breaking News

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