Electronic cigarettes are untested and possibly unsafe, the WHO said today. The device—a mock cigarette that releases a fine mist of nicotine, sans fire—has been sold over the internet as a smoking cessation aid, Reuters reports. The problem is that it could release, besides nicotine, “many other toxic compounds which we are not sure of," warns the director of the WHO’s anti-smoking initiative.
"Toxicological tests and clinical trials have not been performed on this product," he says. The devices are popular in Brazil, Britain, Canada and Israel, and the websites that sell them sometimes use bogus WHO logos to try to pass the product off as safe and regulated.