Independent testing commissioned by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) revealed the presence of carcinogens and toxic chemicals, such as formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and acrolein, in certain e-cigarette products. An Australian federal court ordered three online e-cigarette retailers to pay penalties for making false and misleading claims about the carcinogens in their products. This is believed to be the first time a regulator anywhere in the world has successfully taken action for false and misleading claims about carcinogens in e-cigarettes.
The Joystick Company Pty Ltd, Social-Lites Pty Ltd, and Elusion Australia Ltd were ordered to pay penalties for breaching consumer law. All three retailers admitted the conduct alleged by the ACCC and consented to the amounts of the penalties. The ACCC has written to more than 30 Australian e-cigarette suppliers reminding them of their Australian Consumer Law (ACL) obligations, in particular to ensure information provided to consumers is accurate.
Separate testing conducted by Japanese scientists showed that some e-cigarettes contain 10 times the level of cancer-causing carcinogens than regular cigarettes. When the Japanese Ministry of Health commissioned the research, the researchers also found formaldehyde and acetaldehyde in many e-cigarette products. In addition, the researcher found that e-cigarettes can fuel potentially life-threatening drug-resistant pathogens. This discovery comes from a lab study that tested the vapor from e-cigarettes on live methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and human cells.
Formaldehyde is classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) International Agency for Cancer Research (IARC) as a Group 1A carcinogen, meaning there is sufficient evidence to show it is carcinogenic to humans. Acetaldehyde is classified as a Group 2B carcinogen by the IARC. That classification is applied to a chemical agent that has been evaluated as being possibly carcinogenic to humans. Acrolein is classified as a toxic chemical. It is also listed as a dangerous poison in Schedule 7 of the Poisons Standard of the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989.
Earlier in 2015, the WHO advised governments to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to underage people because they posed a serious threat to them. The UN health agency said that although there is a lack of evidence regarding the damage caused by e-cigarettes, there was still enough evidence “to caution children and adolescents, pregnant women, and women of reproductive age” about their use. The WHO also added that e-cigarettes should be outlawed from indoor public spaces. It is quite obvious that the use of e-cigarettes, especially with young people, is increasing. Hopefully, the federal government will take action to help put a stop to the use of e-cigarettes or at the very least to require strong warnings.
Source: The Guardian
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