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French Researchers Recommend Stopping E-Cigarette Use in Public

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Electronic Cigarettes
A man smokes an electronic cigarette in his office in Paris. Photographer: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP via Getty Images

May 28 (Bloomberg) -- Use of electronic cigarettes in public spaces such as restaurants should be forbidden, French researchers wrote in a government-commissioned report.

Use of the devices, electronic tubes that simulate the effect of smoking by producing nicotine vapor, should be regulated, and forbidden to pregnant women and people younger than 18, wrote the researchers, led by Bertrand Dautzenberg, a professor of pneumology and the president of the French Office for Smoking Prevention, also known as OFT.

Electronic cigarettes, which mimic the look and feel of traditional versions without generating smoke and ash, cause damage to the lungs, researchers from the University of Athens said in a study presented at the European Respiratory Society annual meeting in Vienna in September. That study challenged earlier research suggesting the devices, designed to help quit smoking, are harmless.

“Even if the knowledge on these products is advancing rapidly, there still are many points of uncertainty,” Dautzenberg and his colleagues wrote in the report. “We cannot wait for established scientific data to start proposing recommendations” for the use of e-cigarettes.

The report has been published on the OFT’s website and was conducted with support from the Direction Generale de la Sante, which is part of the Health Ministry. It will be presented to France’s Health and Social Affairs Minister Marisol Touraine today, newspaper Le Monde reported on its website.

Makers of the battery-powered devices include Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based Vapor Corp.

Lorillard Inc., a Greensboro, North Carolina-based producer of standard cigarettes, acquired the devices with its $135 million purchase of Blu Ecigs in April last year.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has yet to impose rules on the testing and production of e-cigarettes. More than 3.5 million Americans use e-cigarettes, according to the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association.

To contact the reporter on this story: Albertina Torsoli in Paris at atorsoli@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Phil Serafino at pserafino@bloomberg.net

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