California health officer declares e-cigarettes a health threat, urges tobacco-like regulation

IndustriesAssociated Press

California health officials say electronic cigarettes are a health threat, especially to children, and should be strictly regulated like tobacco products.

A report released Wednesday by the California Department of Public Health says e-cigarettes emit cancer-causing chemicals and get users hooked on nicotine. California Health Officer Ron Chapman says new generations of young people will become nicotine addicts if the products remain largely unregulated.

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E-cigarettes heat liquid nicotine from cartridges into inhalable vapor without tar and other chemicals found in traditional cigarettes. E-cigarette makers say their products are far safer than tobacco.

Other states including Oklahoma and Arkansas already have issued advisories cautioning the use of e-cigarettes. California's advisory comes after a state lawmaker introduced legislation this week to ban e-cigarettes in public places.