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Electronic cigarettes contain 5 carcinogens: gov't

All Headlines 15:25 June 07, 2018

SEOUL, June 7 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's health authorities said Thursday that five "cancer-causing" substances were found in heat-not-burn electronic cigarettes sold in the local market, with the level of tar detected exceeding that of conventional cigarettes.

The International Agency For Research On Cancer (IARC) under the World Health Organization (WHO) classifies certain substances belonging to group 1 as being carcinogenic to humans. Substances are placed in this category when there is clear evidence of being harmful to people.

The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety announced the results of their investigation into three tobacco heating devices -- IQOS by Philip Morris Korea Inc., British American Tobacco's Glo and South Korean leading cigarette maker KT&G Corp.'s lil.

The five group 1 carcinogens -- benzopyrene, nitrosopyrrolidine, benzene, formaldehyde and nitrosamine ketone -- were detected in all the products, according to the detailed findings.

The amount, however, was between 0.3 percent and 28 percent of the conventional products, the ministry said.

"There is no reason to think that e-cigarettes are less harmful than conventional cigarettes after comprehensively considering various research, such as those carried out by WHO," a ministry official said.

Moreover, two of the three products contained more tar than conventional cigarettes, without identifying the products.

"The amount of nicotine contained in e-cigarettes was about the same level compared to conventional tobaccos, indicating that e-cigarettes are not helpful to those wanting to quit smoking," the official said. Nicotine itself is a very addictive material.

E-cigarette manufacturers have claimed their devices produce lower levels of harmful chemicals compared with conventional cigarettes.

This photo illustrates the harmfulness of electronic cigarettes being tested by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety. (Yonhap)

khj@yna.co.kr
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