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 Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infectionsi
X
November 28, 2014 3:31 PM
South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infections

South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.

All About America

AppleAndroid