WHO Pushes for New Ecig Regulation and Global Indoor Bans

As legislators worldwide debate how to handle the growing ecig industry, the World Health Organization has not made any official statements on vaping until today. In a brand new report, WHO finally weighed in on the issue by calling for strict new regulations on sales and advertising. Most of all, the report focused on the need to ban all ecig use indoors both in public places and in private work venues in order to protect children and unborn babies.

The whole report seemed a little ironic considering that WHO is supposedly the global authority on public health. Many were expecting some detailed studies along with their official stance on vaping, but instead there were just generic warnings and pushes for bans without any justifiable reason. There was no new evidence presented to explain why ecigs should be banned indoors. Instead, the report simply pointed to “potential” risks and “possible” threats to health. WHO urged more research on ecigs, but seemed to completely ignore the hundred of studies that have already been completed.

In reality, we have a long list of research that proves how effective ecigs can be for smokers that want to quit. While WHO wants to see ecig companies prevented from making any cessation claims, studies have shown that ecigs do help smokers quit and even prevent relapses. Just last month, an international team of scientists did a comprehensive review of 81 ecig studies and concluded that the benefits far outweigh any unknown risks. These scientists urged legislators to slow down on regulations and claimed that strict regulations would ultimately be more harmful.

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) is a well known UK charity that focuses on tobacco prevention. Spokesperson Hazel Cheeseman issued a public response to the WHO report. She said that there is no scientific evidence that has shown ecigs as harmful to bystanders. ASH is pushing for only proportionate regulations rather than the severe approach encouraged by WHO.

“Smokers who switch to using electronic cigarettes in whole or in part are likely to substantially reduce their health risks,” Cheeseman said.  “Although we cannot be sure that electronic cigarettes are completely safe, as the WHO acknowledges, they are considerably less harmful than smoking tobacco and research suggests that they are already helping smokers quit.”

Now that the World Health Organization has officially called for a ban on indoor vaping, countries around the world will have to carefully consider the next step for regulations. A global meeting will convene in October to determine the most appropriate guidelines for international ecig laws.

Does today’s report from WHO concern you? How do you think this will this impact future ecig regulation in the United States?

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