The Ministry of Health on Sunday warned smokers against using electronic cigarettes or “e-cigarettes” as a cessation aid or supposedly safer alternative to smoking. Malek Habashneh, director of the ministry’s awareness and communication directorate, said that although the ministry has banned the import and sale of e-cigarettes, “some people bring them individually from abroad, and some shops sell smuggled e-cigarettes”. He noted that importers had sent applications to the ministry to allow them to import e-cigarettes, “but they will remain banned in Jordan”. “A committee of representatives from the ministry and the Jordan Food and Drug Administration met on Saturday and rejected all applications,” Habashneh told The Jordan Times yesterday, adding that e-cigarettes contain toxic chemicals that cause more health problems than the nicotine in normal cigarettes. The warning, according to Habashneh, came after news reports the ministry received this week about an e-cigarette that exploded in a man’s mouth in the US. “A faulty battery caused an electronic cigarette to explode in a Florida’s man’s mouth, taking out some of his front teeth and a chunk of his tongue and severely burning his face,” the Associated Press reported last week. According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), laboratory analysis of electronic cigarette samples has found that they contain carcinogens and toxic chemicals such as diethylene glycol, an ingredient used in antifreeze. “Electronic cigarettes are battery-operated devices that generally contain cartridges filled with nicotine, flavour and other chemicals. The electronic cigarette turns nicotine, which is highly addictive and other chemicals into a vapour that is inhaled by the user,” the FDA explains on its website.