Rome, May 30 - Electronic cigarettes should be banned in public places, just as their low-tech cousins have been, consumer group Codacons said Thursday. In a formal request to the ministry of health and to the department of economic development, the group said the content of electronic cigarettes should also be carefully analyzed. Scientists still haven't ascertained how harmful, if at all, these devices are, said the consumer group. And until it's clear what harmful substances might be contained and diffused by e-cigarettes, they should be banned in public just as conventional cigarette smoking is current banned, it said. "The manufacturers and distributors sponsor their product as safe and not harmful," but until the science is more clear on their effects, the devices should be carefully controlled. E-cigarettes usually contain an atomizer that passes vapour into the user's mouth. Some deliver nicotine and proponents say because nothing is burned, as in a conventional cigarette, there are no toxins released.