Health officials warn against e-cigarettes

Health agency wants smoking law to include electronic cigarettes

E-cigarettes may not yet fall under national smoking laws, but the health agency Sundhedsstyrelsen has argued against allowing electronic cigarettes in schools, institutions and work places.

According to a recent Gallup survey, about 200,000 Danes use e-cigarettes.

“We recommend that people do not smoke e-cigarettes inside, because there is still uncertainty about what is in the steam,” Jørgen Falk, a Sundhedsstyrelsen spokesperson, told Politiken newspaper.

READ MORE: Children have a right to a smoke-free home, majority says

E-cigs should fall under smoking law
The smoking law was last amended in 2012, but politicians did not include e-cigarettes in the legislation, something that Sundhedsstyrelsen laments.

“The politicians make the rules, but if they asked Sundhedsstyrelsen we would more than likely recommend including e-cigarettes in the legislation so that you don’t risk others being exposed to dangerous components in the steam,” Falk said.

A trio of health advocate organisations – consisting of cancer organisation Kræftens Bekæmpelse, lung association Danmarks Lungeforening, and heart association Hjerteforeningen – all agree with Sundhedsstyrelsen. And so do an increasing number of the Danish public.

An Epinion survey compiled for national broadcaster DR in December showed that 34 percent of the population believes that the smoking rules should also apply to e-cigarettes. A further 13 percent partially concurred with that statement.

READ MORE: Researchers bust fatty myth in massive cardiovascular study

Illegal nicotine fluid sale rife 
Charlotta Pisinger, a doctor and researcher from the health and prevention research centre Forskningscenter for Forebyggelse og Sundhed, maintained that placing e-cigarettes under the national smoking law would mean big changes for the industry.

“The products would be encompassed by the medicinal law, which would force the producers to provide documentation that their products are safe,” Pisinger told Politiken. 

Over the weekend, Politiken newspaper revealed that the sale of illegal nicotine fluids was rife in Denmark and that 25 vendors face fines and confiscation after being reported to the police.

As a result, the government has announced that it is ready to investigate exactly what e-cigarettes contain and what effect they have on the health of users.

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