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France health official urges ban on electronic cigarettes

May 31, 2013 at 3:47 PM

PARIS, May 31 (UPI) -- Electronic cigarettes should be banned in public places, just as regular cigarettes are, French Health Minister Marisol Touraine said Friday.

Smoking of electronic cigarettes has become increasingly popular among the French since tobacco-based cigarettes were banned from public areas in 2008, France 24 reported.

"We want the same laws that apply to normal cigarettes to apply to electronic cigarettes," Touraine said.

"E-cigarettes" are particularly popular with young bar patrons and Touraine said the devices should not be sold to anyone under 15.

Ads for the cigarettes should also be banned, she said.

A report commissioned by Touraine earlier this month said that nearly 70 percent of teenagers had tried e-cigarettes even though they hadn't smoked before, RFI reported.

The report also said 29.1 percent of France's population smoked, up from 25 percent in 2005 when smoking restrictions were put in place.

France also has the highest number of pregnant women who smoke, the report said.

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