The World Health Organization (WHO) is calling for the implementation of a regulation that would ban the use of e-cigarette indoors and prohibit the sales of the product to children.
In addition, the health organization also wants companies selling e-cigarette to stop their claims on advertisements that the product could help smokers quit smoking. At present, there is still no firm evidence that support such claim.
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WHO suggested legal measures are necessary to prohibit the use of e-cigarettes indoors, both at the workplace and public spaces.
According to WHO, there is a possibility that companies could attract a wider e-cigarette use among children. For this reason, the health organization recommended a ban on advertisements that may encourage children and non-smokers to try the product.
WHO said the sale of e-cigarettes with fruit, candy or alcoholic-drink flavors should be prohibited. Manufacturers should not be allowed to sell e-cigarettes through vending machines.
E-cigarette poses health threats
The WHO warns that the e-cigarette poses health threats to adolescents and to the fetuses of pregnant women. The health organization explained that exhaling the e-cigarette vapor increases the background air levels of certain toxicants and nicotine, which is risky to those bystanders inhaling them.
The health organization published its recommendations regarding e-cigarette prior to the meeting of countries participating in an international convention on tobacco control on October. The countries are expected to agree on a new international guideline regarding the matter.
Comments regarding the WHO recommendation
A spokesperson for the British American Tobacco plc (LON:BATS) commented that the law requiring a minimum age of 18 for the sale of e-cigarette should be introduced. He added that overly restrictive regulations could hamper innovation or adult use, hinder the growth of new products, and prevent smokers from being aware of having access to e-cigarette, which could be a bad thing for public health.
On the other hand, Hazel Cheeseman of Action on Smoking and Health opined that a regulation on e-cigarette use should be proportionate. According to her, “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.”