Since the banning of smoking in public places on October 1, advertisements have appeared in the media promoting electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) as a safe and second-hand smoke-free way to smoke in public places.?? The Ministry of Health has, however, advised the public that there is no evidence to confirm the safety and efficacy of these products.

Although the e-cigarette is not covered by the Health Services (Prohibition of Tobacco Smoking in Public Places) Regulations, 2010, the Health Ministry has advised that the product, which looks like a real cigarette and on which a smoker puffs to release stored liquid nicotine and other substances like propylene glycol, has not been tested to determine its long-term effects.??

According to the Health Ministry:?? "Toxicology tests and clinical trials have not been performed and the number of chemical additives in e-cigarettes, which could be very toxic, have not yet been confirmed.?? The Ministry also stated that contrary to what some advertisements have implied, the World Health Organisation (WHO) does not consider the electronic cigarette to be a legitimate therapy for smokers trying to quit the habit.??

Furthermore, the WHO has indicated that if marketers of e-cigarettes want to help smokers quit, "then they need to conduct clinical studies and toxicity analyses and operate within the proper regulatory framework".

According to the Ministry of Health, despite claims by advertisements that these products are safe to smoke in enclosed places, infood establishments, around children, and as a legitimate therapy for smokers trying to quit, the lack of regulation of the concentration of nicotine in e-cigarettes is a concern. because of the drugs highly addictive nature.??

The public has, therefore, been urged to become more informed about the e-cigarette, which has already been banned in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Israel, Mexico, Panama, Singapore and the State of Oregon (USA), while other European countries have it under review.

The e-cigarette is a battery-powered device that has a chamber for storing liquid nicotine and other substances.?? The concentration of these may vary in potency.?? It does not need to be lit and does not produce smoke, but instead a fine, heated mist, that is absorbed into the lungs.??

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