Rome, April 3 - Italian consumer groups were mixed on Wednesday following a government ban on electronic cigarettes for minors. "The caution (on the part of the health ministry) is understandable given the contradictory indications from available studies on the matter," said the Federconsumatori in a statement. This week the health ministry signed an ordinance prohibiting the sale of e-cigarettes to anyone aged 18 or younger, the same age limit for tobacco products. The health ministry said that the devices, despite advertizing a less-harmful alternative to traditional smoking tobacco, still exceed acceptable daily levels of nicotine when puffed moderately, citing the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). The ban is in place until October this year when it will need to be reviewed. In the meantime, Balduzzi ordered further research into the risks of electronic cigarettes by Italy's Higher Health Institute. Federconsumatori said that citizens also need to know more about potential second-hand health risks. Another consumer group, ADUC, was skeptical of the ban and cautioned that it would "fuel the black market".
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