The World Health Organization targeted e-cigarettes and their manufacturers in a blistering report which was released Tuesday August 26th . The report outlines The WHO’s fears about e-cigs, and makes recommendations that it believes are critical to public safety.
WHO Calls for Ban on E-Cigs Indoors
Most notably the report calls for a ban on the use of e-cigarettes indoors because of fears that the vapor produced from the devices could be harmful to others. According to the report there is no evidence existing to suggest that water vapor is the only chemical emitted from the devices. In fact, WHO officials said in a press release concerning the report, “Evidence suggests that exhaled e-cigarette aerosol increases the background air level of some toxicants, nicotine, and particles.”
The report also calls for a ban on the sale of e-cigarettes that are fruit, candy, and alcohol-drink flavored indicating that these flavors are highly popular with teens. It seems the organization believes that these flavored e-cigarettes deserve much of the blame for a rapid increase in teen and young adult e-cigarette experimentation in recent years. The report cites research published in early August of this year which showed teens who have tried e-cigarettes were more likely to also have tried tobacco cigarettes or to be current tobacco smokers.
Do E-Cigs Help Smokers Quit?
Manufacturers of e-cigarettes often market them as a way to help tobacco smokers kick traditional cigarettes, and as a healthier alternative. However, while The WHO admits that e-cigarettes “… are likely to be less toxic than conventional cigarettes…” they do not believe that makes them a safe alternative. They also site research published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine which showed that smokers who use e-cigarettes as a cessation aid are no more likely to quit regular cigarettes than those who don’t use e-cigarettes as an aid. For these reasons the report also suggests prohibiting manufacturers from making unfounded health claims in their marketing campaigns.
The report makes it clear that The WHO feels e-cigarettes are a major threat to the world’s health. But sales from the e-cigarettes doubled from 2008 to 2012 and numbers are expected to exceed $3 billion in global sales by next year. The WHO has an uphill battle in its fight against e-cigarettes, but if any of the recommendations outlined in the report are accepted, it would be a major victory for the organization and anti-tobacco advocates.