WHO: Ban E-Cigs Indoors

Organization wants electronic cigarettes regulated more, citing health risks
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 26, 2014 1:54 PM CDT
WHO: Ban E-Cigs Indoors
In this Jan. 17, 2014, file photo, a smoker demonstrates an e-cigarette in Wichita Falls, Texas.   (AP Photo/Wichita Falls Times Record News, Torin Halsey, File)

More support for those who think it's too early to jump on the e-cigarette bandwagon: The vapor-producing devices may still pose a threat to users' and bystanders' health, says WHO, which suggests stronger regulations on the relatively new industry in a report released today, reports Reuters. The health organization also asks for a ban on puffing away on the battery-driven units indoors, as well as on advertising and flavored e-cigs that could lure underage users. Although e-cigs "are likely less toxic than conventional ones," writes Stephanie Nebehay at Reuters, WHO researchers say that nicotine and other chemicals emitted by e-cigs are still a health hazard, especially for teens and pregnant women. Those chemicals can include formaldehyde, aluminum, and silicate particles, reports the Telegraph.

The WHO report is lobbying against e-cig vending machines and says manufacturers shouldn't be able to tout their products as "smoking cessation aids" until more research is completed to back that claim up. The main debate right now seems to be between those who think that e-cigs can help cut down on tobacco-related deaths and those who argue that using e-cigs could lead to the real thing for youngsters—especially with flavors such as bacon, bubble gum, and even Thin Mint. "Many public health experts are concerned that the advertising of electronic cigarettes could make it seem normal again to think smoking is glamorous," a health official tells the Telegraph. (The FDA proposes a ban on sales to minors, but hasn't moved against flavors.)

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