WHO: Electronic Cigarettes Are "Undoubtedly Harmful" and Should Be Regulated
Electronic cigarettes are "undoubtedly harmful" and should be regulated, the WHO said. It also warned against the use of vaping products by smokers trying to quit their deadly habit.
The growing popularity of electronic cigarettes, battery-powered devices that allow consumers to inhale addictive nicotine fluids, has sparked fears among politicians around the world about new addiction to young people.
Although breathing exposes users to lower levels of smoking toxins, according to the WHO, the devices still pose "health risks" to consumers.
"Although the specific level of risk associated with ENDS (electronic nicotine delivery systems) has not yet been conclusively estimated, ENDS are undoubtedly harmful and should therefore be subject to regulation," the WHO said in a new report on the global smoking epidemic.
There was also "insufficient evidence" to support claims of their effectiveness in assisting smokers trying to quit conventional cigarettes, it said.
"In most countries where they are available, the majority of e-cigarette users continue to use e-cigarettes and cigarettes concurrently, which has little to no beneficial impact on health risk and effects," the report stated.
In recent years, large tobacco companies aggressively sell electronic cigarettes and heated tobacco products as they are looking for new customers.
They claim that such products are far less dangerous than traditional cigarettes and can help some smokers completely switch to "safer" alternatives.
But the WHO has warned that the misinformation spread by the tobacco industry about electronic cigarettes is a "a present and real threat".
Restrictions on the use of electronic cigarettes worldwide are increasing. Last Month, San Francisco banned the sale and production of products that unlike cigarettes do not burn.
China, which is home to nearly a third of tobacco smokers in the world, is also planning to regulate the devices.
More efforts were needed to help smokers quit, the WHO said in the report, noting that"30 percent of the world's population have access to appropriate tobacco cessation services," such as counseling, telephone hotlines and medication.
Without help or assistance, only 4% of attempts to stop smoking are successful.
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