WHO Calls for Regulations on E-Cigarettes

WHO recommends regulations on electronic cigarettes regarding advertising and indoor use

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) In the ongoing debate about electronic cigarettes, some experts welcome the products as a way to reduce tobacco smoking. Other experts, however, believe that e-cigarettes may work against efforts to reduce smoking. Now, the World Health Organization (WHO) is weighing in.

The WHO has released a report on e-cigarettes and similar devices to be discussed at an upcoming conference in October.

In the report, the international health agency called for regulations on e-cigarette advertising and sales. The agency also wanted bans on indoor use of e-cigarettes.

"Ask your primary care physician about ways to quit smoking."

The WHO report states that e-cigarettes "represent an evolving frontier, filled with promise and threat for tobacco control."

For this reason, the WHO says, regulations are needed to restrict e-cigarette advertising to young people and nonsmokers.

One concern is that some e-cigarette flavors, such as fruit or candy flavors, might be appealing to young people. That appeal might make e-cigarettes a gateway to nicotine addiction, the WHO says.

The WHO has also called for a ban on indoor use of e-cigarettes in public and workplaces. According to the agency, the exhaled e-cigarette "vapor" boosts levels of some toxicants, nicotine and other particles in the air.

The health effects of e-cigarette use are still unclear. While the report states that e-cigarettes may be less toxic than normal cigarettes, it also warns that e-cigarette use "poses serious threats to adolescents and fetuses."

The report also states that there is not enough evidence to conclude that e-cigarettes help people quit smoking. For that reason, the WHO recommends that smokers use approved smoking cessation methods.

Review Date: 
August 26, 2014
Last Updated:
August 26, 2014