News / Health

WHO Urges Stiff Regulatory Curbs on E-cigarettes

FILE- A woman smokes a "Blu" e-cigarette (electronic cigarette) in Washington, D.C.  The number of U.S. youths who have tried e-cigarettes tripled from 2011 to 2013, raising concerns about the potential for a new generation of nicotine addicts, U.S. health authorities said.
FILE- A woman smokes a "Blu" e-cigarette (electronic cigarette) in Washington, D.C. The number of U.S. youths who have tried e-cigarettes tripled from 2011 to 2013, raising concerns about the potential for a new generation of nicotine addicts, U.S. health authorities said.
Reuters

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday called for regulation of electronic cigarettes as well as bans on indoor use, advertising and sales to minors.

In a long-awaited report that will be debated by member states at a meeting in October in Moscow, the United Nations health agency also voiced concern at the concentration of the $3 billion market in the hands of transnational tobacco companies.

War on big tobacco

The WHO declared war on “Big Tobacco” a decade ago, clinching the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the world's first public health treaty that has been ratified by 179 states since entering into force in 2005.

Prior to Tuesday's report it had indicated it would favor applying similar restrictions to all nicotine-containing products including smokeless ones.

The WHO urged a range of “regulatory options”, including prohibiting e-cigarette makers from making health claims - such as that they help people quit smoking - until they provide “convincing supporting scientific evidence and obtain regulatory approval”.

WHO urges stricter regulation

E-cigarettes should be regulated to “minimize content and emissions of toxicants”, and those solutions with fruit, candy-like and alcohol-drinks flavors should be banned, it said. Vending machines should be removed in almost all locations.

Scientists are divided on the risks and potential benefits of e-cigarettes, which are widely considered to be a lot less harmful than conventional cigarettes.

One group of researchers warned the WHO in May not to classify them as tobacco products, arguing that doing so would jeopardize a major opportunity to slash disease and deaths caused by smoking.

But opposing experts argued a month later that the WHO should hold firm to its plan for strict regulations.

A total of 178 countries are parties to the FCTC and are obliged to implement its measures, with the United States the one notable non-signatory.

Sales of e-cigarettes sour

Major tobacco companies including Imperial Tobacco, Altria Group, Philip Morris International and British American Tobacco are increasingly launching their own e-cigarette brands as sales of conventional products stall in Western markets.

A Wells Fargo analyst report in July projected that U.S. sales of e-cigarettes would outpace conventional ones by 2020.

Uptake of electronic cigarettes, which use battery-powered cartridges to produce a nicotine-laced inhalable vapor, has rocketed in the last two years and analysts estimate the industry had worldwide sales of some $3 billion in 2013.

But the devices are controversial. Because they are so new there is a lack of long-term scientific evidence to support their safety and some fear they could be “gateway” products to nicotine addiction and tobacco smoking.

A study by U.S. researchers published on Monday found they may be more tempting to non-smoking youths than conventional cigarettes.

You May Like

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine May Be in Use by Jan.

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid