Melbourne, Jan 19: Despite being outlawed in Australia, electronic cigarettes that use nicotine-flavoured vapour are still being sold on the website eBay for hundreds of dollars.
E-cigarettes were demonstrated at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas last week, and they have been a major attraction for smokers ever since.With the aid of battery-generated heat, these cigarettes create a flavoured vapour, which is puffed by the user in the same fashion as real smoke.
The devices, commonly from Chinese manufacturers, even have tips that glow when the user inhales, simulating the ember of a real cigarette. However, safety fears attached to electronic cigarettes still remain, with reports suggesting that they are mostly sold with nicotine instead of flavoured capsules.
"This looks like another insidious, manipulative attempt to hook people on smoking. I'd be very concerned about any attempts to promote smoking, especially to young people," news.com.au quoted Health Minister Nicola Roxon as saying.
A spokesperson for the Federal Department of Health and Ageing said: "The e-cigarette has not been evaluated for safety or efficacy. Nicotine has well recognised physiological and pathological effects and, as with conventional cigarettes, the e-cigarette would be expected to lead to, and sustain, nicotine addiction."
On the other hand, eBay Australia's spokesman said that the e-cigarette items advertised on the website would immediately be taken down if any of them was found to breach the company"s policies on illegal and tobacco products.