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CINCINNATI -- Those who believe e-cigarettes are a healthy alternative to the real thing might want to find another way to wean off their nicotine fix.
A new report released by France’s National Consumer Institute magazine this week claims the popular e-cigarettes may contain a comparable level of carcinogens to regular cigarettes.
A carcinogen is any substance that is an agent directly involved in causing cancer.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), e-cigarettes are drug-device products designed to deliver nicotine to a user in the form of a vapor.
The process of smoking an e-cigarette, often known as vaping, is typically done by using a battery-operated heating element, a replaceable cartridge containing nicotine and an atomizer that uses heat to convert the contents of the cartridge into a vapor -- which is then inhaled by the user.
For smokers trying to kick the habit, e-cigarettes often appear to provide a way to wean off cigarettes while avoiding health risks like cancer.
But the recent French study reports that isn't the case at all.
Researchers found that three in 10 e-cigarettes contain levels of formaldehyde and acrolein -- known carcinogens -- that are nearly equal to levels found in standard cigarettes.
Scientists with the FDA and American Cancer Society say there is currently no scientific evidence about the safety of e-cigarettes.
In initial lab tests, the FDA found detectable levels of carcinogens and toxic chemicals, including an ingredient used in anti-freeze.
The American Cancer Society says e-cigarettes have not been approved by the FDA for use to quit smoking. Experts add that no evidence exists to show they even help people quit smoking.
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