The World Health Organization (WHO) recently stated grave concerns regarding e-cigarettes, which comprise a $3 billion global business with over 466 brands. In anticipation of the 6th Conference of the Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the WHO released a report citing the need for regulations for electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) due to concerns about this growing business and the potential to put people around the globe at risk for negative health consequences.
They note that such regulations are needed to:
- Impede e-cigarette promotion to non-smokers and young people;
- Minimize potential health risks to e-cigarette users and nonusers;
- Prohibit unproven health claims about e-cigarettes; and
- Protect existing tobacco control efforts from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry.
Similar to comments submitted by the Prevent Cancer Foundation to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the WHO recommends a ban on characterizing flavors for e-cigarettes citing a concern that the products may addict minors to nicotine and potentially lead them to traditional cigarettes and tobacco products.
Further, the WHO expressed concern regarding the mischaracterization and confusion regarding e-cigarettes and the lack of sufficient evidence to make claims regarding public health. Of particular concern is the unrestricted advertising of such products and their use indoors, without adequate evidence regarding the toxicants released into the air.