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Federal Institute for Risk Assessment: E-cigarettes only in the smoking area
According to the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), e-cigarettes should fall under the provisions of the non-smoking protection laws and should only be inhaled in special smoking areas. Because even with e-cigarettes, passive smokers may face significant health risks.
With the greatly increased popularity of e-cigarettes, a violent discussion about the advantages and disadvantages as well as the legal classification of the electronic steam stems has flared up in recent months. While manufacturers, sellers and advocates of e-cigarettes refer to the lower health burden compared to tobacco, critics warn of possible health risks from the vapor of the e-cigarette. In a current press release, the BfR has now spoken out in favor of restricting the consumption of e-cigarettes in public to smoking areas, since "according to the current state of knowledge, risks to third parties cannot be excluded".
Vapor affects the health of e-smokers In the press release, the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment refers to the health risks that can arise from the ingredients of the liquids that are vaporized in the e-cigarettes. Although the pollutants and toxins typical for burning tobacco do not arise, the evaluation of some of the ingredients in e-cigarette liquid - such as nicotine, the nebulizer propylene glycol, additives and flavorings - have shown that the “vapors of these substances affect health by e-smokers ”, according to the BfR. There is also a risk of contamination of the liquid by other substances that may be hazardous to health. The specialist literature also provides information that "some brands of e-cigarettes also release carcinogenic aldehydes," reports the BfR.
Health risks of e-cigarette vapor unclear In the e-cigarette liquids are vaporized, which are currently freely available in various flavors. Consumers can combine them as they wish or even put together their own substances, so that, according to the BfR, it is often unclear "exactly what is inhaled and exhaled." can also pose a health risk to bystanders, reports the BfR. In addition, in view of a large and rapidly growing range of liquids, it is not possible to record in detail "what an e-smoker actually inhales or exhales in a specific case and what pollutants the breathing air is contaminated with." The refillable cartridges open up almost unlimited possibilities for consumers for experimenting and putting together your own liquids, "whereby concentrates and questionable substances can also be used," explained the BfR. The actual risks of the released emissions are therefore not recognizable for bystanders.
Smoking e-cigarettes only in smoking areas Given the unclear health risks that e-cigarettes can also pose for passive smokers, the President of the BfR, Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel, in the current press release for "to allow smoking of e-cigarettes only in smoking areas". In this way, “e-cigarettes cannot harm passive smokers,” emphasized the BfR President. E-cigarettes should also be prohibited in non-smoking areas, because the products should be treated "like non-smokers like conventional cigarettes", according to the BfR. So far, there are no uniform legal requirements for handling e-cigarettes in the individual federal states. But even without legal requirements, e-smokers should handle e-cigarettes in the private sector as carefully as they do with conventional glow sticks, according to the BfR: Special caution is therefore advised, for example, near children, pregnant women or the sick.
Legal conflict over e-cigarettes The dispute over the handling of e-cigarettes has been boiling for months, with the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) last having to accept a defeat at the Cologne Administrative Court in April. The attempt to classify e-cigarettes as a drug for smoking cessation had failed. If the court had followed the BfArM's assessment, the e-cigarette as a medicine would have had to go through a strict approval process, which would also have taken the health risks into account. However, the court came to the conclusion that the e-cigarette should be classified as a stimulant due to a lack of therapeutic or preventive purpose. The BfArM claims to appeal against the judgment. (fp)
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