The list of all ingredients now available online

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A database published by ANSES provides an overview of all the substances contained in tobacco and vaping products sold in France.

What is behind the "mojito", "red fruit" or "mint" aromas in e-cigarette liquids? A database published on Wednesday by ANSES provides an overview of all the substances contained in tobacco and vaping products sold in France. "We are the first European agency to make all of this information available", which must be declared since 2016, welcomed Matthieu Schuller, director of risk assessment at the National Agency for Health Security.

"Concretely, if I am a vaper or e-liquid seller and if I want to find out about a product, I will start by checking whether it has been registered with ANSES (...). I can then consult its majority ingredients as declared and I can finally see whether ANSES has identified any discrepancies in the manufacturer's declaration for this product, "the health agency said. In fact, nearly 4% of vaping products sold on the French market (3.3% to 4.2% depending on the year) declared at least one ingredient banned because it is carcinogenic, likely to promote genetic mutations (mutagen). or toxic to fertility or the development of the fetus (reprotoxic).

In tobacco products (cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco, cigars, heated tobacco, etc.) this proportion is between 0.4% and 1.4% depending on the year, and approximately 0.2% contain other prohibited ingredients (vitamins , caffeine, taurine…). "To a lesser extent, the Agency has highlighted non-conformities relating to emissions above the regulatory threshold for certain cigarettes or an excessively high concentration of nicotine in certain vaping products," adds ANSES. This database, which will be updated "on a monthly basis", constitutes a "first step" before "an assessment of the risks" possibly linked to each of these substances, specifies Matthieu Schuller.

Heated and inhaled

Vaping liquids are generally composed of vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol, which serve as a dilution carrier, nicotine in different concentrations, and artificial flavors (up to 15 in some mixtures). There are also sometimes sugars, sweeteners, acids and plant extracts. While these substances are commonly used in other consumer products such as food or cosmetics, their effects when heated and inhaled are still poorly understood.

Electronic cigarettes are often used as a tool to help quit smoking, the harmful effects of which have been known for a long time. Fears over the risks of vaping were fueled in particular by a crisis of severe lung disease that killed 60 people last year in the United States. The cause has since been identified: an ingredient added to cut cannabis e-liquids, vitamin E acetate. "At the start of 2021, we should have an idea of ​​the priority substances to be evaluated," said Matthieu Schuller.

A third of vapers assemble their liquid themselves

To do this, the agency has already started to identify which molecules are the most problematic and launched studies with vapers to better understand which products are consumed the most and how, and thus estimate which substances they are most exposed to. Next year, it will perform its own analyzes on a sample of products, to verify whether the manufacturer's claims correspond to the actual composition.

A first survey carried out by BVA, also published on Wednesday, shows in particular that nearly a third of vapers assemble their liquid themselves, by separately purchasing flavored bases in large containers and nicotine "boosters", which costs less. expensive than ready-made products. However, products that do not contain nicotine are not affected by the mandatory declaration, so there is "a question about the composition of these products", also observes Benoît Labarbe, head of the "tobacco" mission at ANSES.

A declaration process that needs to improve

The health agency also stresses that the manufacturer's declaration process could be significantly improved. They are required to detail the composition of the products, but also the substances emitted in the smoke or in the aerosol generated by the heating of the liquid, as well as their sales volumes. However, no less than 67% of this data was not transmitted for tobacco products, and 61% for vaping.

ANSES also recommends that the European Commission establish a "validated list of substances" to avoid "inconsistencies" in certain declarations which mention the trade name of the ingredients and not the chemical substance of which they are made.



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