E-cigarettes pose health risks equal to actual cigarettes, says a new report casting doubt on the supposed benefit of electronic cigarettes.
The new report comes from France’s National Consumer Institute, which reiterated warnings from the U.S Food and Drug Administration that cigarettes vaporizing liquid nicotine still have cancer-causing agents.
The study looked at 12 different models of e-cigarettes, finding health risks in the form of “carcinogenic molecules” in the vapor that the electronic cigarettes produced. Thomas Laurenceau, editor of National Consumer Institute, said the study proves that e-cigarettes need to be placed under stricter control.
E-cigarettes have been marketed a safer alternative to actual cigarettes, but many health associations have viewed the claim with skepticism. The American Lung Association is against the electronic devices despite a lack of evidence about the health risks of e-cigarettes,
“If e-cigarettes sound too good to be true, that’s because they probably are,” the organization states. “With a dearth of rigorous studies on their safety and effectiveness, experts are increasingly concerned that e-cigarettes may do little to help you stop smoking — and may actually do more harm than good.”
The American Lung Association urges consumers to avoid e-cigarettes until the health risks can be studied more thoroughly.
The uncertainty has led some places to place a ban on e-cigarettes. The California town of Seal Beach has considered a moratorium on new shops looking to sell e-cigarettes, with town officials saying they want to wait until the risks are more clearly known. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has also been working on legislation to restrict e-cigarette sales.
Still, some supporters have stood behind e-cigarettes.
“Many anti-smoking groups oppose these products because they are blinded by ideology,” Michael Siegel, of Boston University’s School of Public Health, recently told the New York Times. “They find it difficult, if not impossible, to endorse a behavior that looks like smoking, even though it is literally saving people’s lives….What’s not to like?”
But the American Lung Association and others have held firm on e-cigarettes and health questions about the devices, asking the FDA to regulate them the same as other tobacco products.