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Ban on E-cig 'harmless' claims

Claims that a brand of electronic cigarettes is "completely harmless" have been banned after a watchdog ruled they misled consumers.

The website for Nicolites, which sells electronic cigarettes containing a cartridge holding liquid nicotine, said the vapour inhaled and exhaled by users resembled smoke but was harmless. Another claim said it was the tobacco in standard cigarettes that was harmful, and nicotine was mildly addictive but did not pose a health hazard.

But one reader complained the claims were misleading and could not be substantiated.

Defending the website, Nicolites said the ingredients in its liquid, which were heated to create a vapour, had been tested in the UK and subjected to a toxicology risk assessment to confirm they were all safe.

It said the same pharmaceutical grade nicotine that was used in products such as nicotine patches, gum and inhalators was used in its electronic cigarettes, and it could therefore claim the nicotine would pose no health hazard.

But the UK's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld the complaint.