'Russian roulette': Top doctor calls for vaping ban

One of America's most foremost experts in smoking-related diseases has joined calls for vaping products to be banned until they're fully tested by the government.

Dr Jonathan Winickoff, a professor of paediatrics at Harvard Medical School, urged authorities to remove the products from sale immediately.

"Electronic cigarettes are a fatally flawed product," he said. "People are playing Russian roulette with their bodies every time they purchase."

Winickoff was speaking amid concern over a mystery illness that's struck down hundreds of vaping users in the US. Six deaths have been reported.

"What's surprising to me about this epidemic is that it hasn't happened sooner," he said. "It seems that this was just a ticking time bomb ready to happen."

Winickoff, who used to chair the American Academy of Pediatrics Tobacco Consortium, said components in electronic cigarettes appeared to be behind behind the mystery illness.

He said the products contained a "toxic mix" of chemicals - everything from propylene glycol, heavy metals, carcinogens, high doses of nicotine, and very strong acid.

Winickoff, who also works at Massachusetts General Hospital, said the patients he had treated for the mystery illness came in with what looked like pneumonia.

They would typically be treated with antibiotics, but their lungs were compromised because they used electronic cigarettes and they ended up in intensive care.

They were "essentially drowning on dry land", Winickoff said.

Some reports have linked the deaths to modified cannabis vaping products, but US health officials say that's not entirely clear yet.

The Government here in New Zealand is considering banning most flavours of vape liquid and only allowing three flavours to be sold.

Associate Minister of Health Jenny Salesa told Newshub the move will be part of legislation on vaping expected to be introduced to Parliament soon.

APTN / Newshub.


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