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France clamps down on electronic cigarettes

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
May 31st, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Electronic cigarettes, a trendy alternative to conventional cigarettes, will be beholden to the same standards as conventional cigarettes in the France. Electronic cigarettes will be banned from public places and be subjected to the same tight controls as tobacco.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The move has irritated both sellers and users of the battery-powered devices, which contain liquid nicotine that is turned into a vapor when inhaled.

Health Minister Marisol Touraine in an interview on France's Europe 1 radio stood firm that a ban would shortly go into effect. "The e-cigarette is not an ordinary product. We need to apply the same measures as there are for tobacco.

"That means making sure it cannot be smoked in public places that its sale is restricted to over 18 and that firms are not allowed to advertise the products."

Recommendations to outlaw the devices had been made in a specialist French report published earlier this week. E-cigarettes are currently legal to use in bars and restaurants and all other public places, where traditional smoking has been banned for five years.
 
Such a ban would harm the booming e-cigarette industry in France, where around 500,000 people use the gadgets, vendors insist.

"If they ban it in public or in the workplace, I'll be closing my store, or moving it somewhere where there aren't restrictions like that," Darren Moon, the English owner of an online store that markets the devices. "Twenty percent of our business is selling disposable e-cigarettes to restaurants, clubs, bars and hotels. So if there's a workplace ban, I'd have to start firing people."

The world is appearing to rush to slap the same restrictions on e-cigarettes as normal ones. "The e-cigarette market is developing very rapidly in France." A spokesman from the London-based market intelligence firm Euromonitor International said.

"The two main advantages of e-cigarettes are that they're seen as healthier than traditional cigarettes, and you can use them in settings like bars and restaurants, where traditional cigarettes aren't allowed.

"A measure like a public ban would reduce the public perception of harmlessness and remove the practical benefit of smoking an e-cigarette in the first place. So it would be highly damaging to the industry.'

E-cigarettes were first invented in China in 2003, as many nations began imposing bans on smoking, and are aimed at giving the user a similar sensation to smoking a cigarette. At first thought healthier than regular cigarettes is because they do not contain the tobacco and other carcinogens found in cigarettes. However, certain chemicals contained in the liquid, notably the compound propylene glycol became topics of concern.

In May 2011, the French health agency AFSSAPS advised against using the devices, saying they still contained nicotine, which even at a low concentration could lead to "damaging side effects."



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