E-cigarettes may seem glamorous at first, but they are a health no-no. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Health Canada, these “smokes” may contain carcinogens and other toxic chemicals such as diethylene glycol, which is used in antifreeze.

Electronic cigarettes are a new gimmick. They operate on batteries and light up when you inhale, emitting a vapour rather than smoke. But they contain nicotine like real cigarettes. They’re available in shopping malls and are marketed on the Internet to young people, but they haven’t been authorized for sale in Canada.

Health authorities in both countries are scrambling to figure out what is in electronic smoking products and how to control their use.