WHO has caused a serious uproar this week with their renewed effort to clamp down on the use of electronic cigarettes. The World Health Organisation (WHO) have called out for ban on indoor use of the devices, claiming that exhaled vapour can increase levels of nicotine and toxicants in background air levels.
As a side point the organisation did admit that e-cigarettes are most likely less harmful that tobacco cigarettes, although they argue they may be damage the health of teenagers and foetuses if used during pregnancy.
A spokesperson for Action on Smoking and Health charity said: “Smoking kills 100,000 people in the UK alone. Smokers who switch to using electronic cigarettes in whole or in part are likely to substantially reduce their health risks. Although we cannot be sure that electronic cigarettes are completely safe, as the WHO acknowledges, they are considerably less harmful than smoking tobacco and research suggests that they are already helping smokers to quit.”
WHO also renewed their claim that the popularity of e-cigs has encouraged more children to begin using the devices. They have once again argued for a ban on advertisements that may motivate children and prior non-smokers to take up using electronic cigarettes. They reiterated their previous assertion that the candy and fruit flavours should also be entirely prohibited and that vending machines selling the devices should be restricted.
Researchers have fired back at WHO, arguing that the strict regulations the organisation wants imposed may have a detrimental effect on smokers who turn to the products to aid quitting tobacco. A spokesperson for the British American Tobacco company explained: “We have always said that given nicotine is addictive, minimum age laws of 18 for the sale of e-cigarettes should be introduced. However, if overly restrictive regulations are introduced hampering innovation or adult usage, then this could simply stifle the growth of new products and prevent smokers from being aware of and having access to them - this can only be a bad thing for public health.”
New global guidelines on the sale and use of electronic cigarettes look likely to be agreed sometime in October. A spokesperson for the UK Department of Health explained: “We have already set out our intention to change the law to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to children under 18. The UK has an existing licensing system for higher strength products which will ban most advertising, limit nicotine levels and set standards for ingredients, labelling and packaging.”
What’s your stance on the WHO’s latest attempt to clamp down on electronic cigarettes? Should e-cig use be banned indoors?