No More E-Cigarette Use Indoors, Says WHO

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( — August 27, 2014)  — In a report, WHO experts warn the products might pose a threat to the fetuses of pregnant women and to adolescents. Furthermore, the Report focuses on the probability for products to engage wider cigarette use in children and adolescents. The experts say that by advertising e-cigarettes, companies that are producing them seriously affect the subconscious decision-making processes of an individual in favor of starting smoking. As more than 8.000 flavors on the market like fruit and candy are the reason so many Americans who never consumed tobacco end up buying e-cigarettes, those flavors should be banned from advertising campaigns.

The Report warns exhaled e-cigarette vapor could increase the background air levels of some toxicants, including nicotine. The WHO expert team warns that, while e-cigarettes are less harmful than traditional cigarettes, they may pose second-hand smoke threats to adolescents and the fetuses of pregnant women.

On the other hand, some researchers suggest tough regulations may prevent smokers having access to products that are potentially less harmful than conventional cigarettes. According to a Spokesman for the British American Tobacco company, they have always said that “[…] given the 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 bad thing for public health”, said the BTA Spokesman.

Hazel Cheeseman, at the charity Action on Smoking and Health, said there was no evidence of any harm to bystanders and warned regulation needed to be proportionate and that “Smokers who switch to using electronic cigarettes in whole or in part are likely to substantially reduce their health risks.” She also added that “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”.

Smoking kills 100,000 people in the UK alone. A UK Department of Health spokeswoman said: “More and more people are using e-cigarettes and we want to make sure they are properly regulated so we can be sure of their safety. We have already set out our intention to change the law to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to children under 18”.

Soon we might face a new European rules to cover lower strength products which will ban most advertising, limit nicotine levels and set standards for ingredients, labeling and packaging.

The WHO’s recommendations were published ahead of a meeting involving all countries that have signed up to an international convention on tobacco control.