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Public health

WHO calls for ban on indoor use of e-cigarettes

Report on electronic nicotine delivery systems will be discussed at the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control to be held in Moscow in October 2014.

Woman smoking an e-cigarette

Source: Tibanna79 /

WHO is calling for a ban on indoor use of e-cigarettes until there is evidence that exhaled vapour is not harmful

The World Health Organization (WHO) is calling for tougher regulation on electronic cigarettes, including a ban on their use in indoor public places and stopping all sales to children.

According to WHO, people should not be allowed to use e-cigarettes in places where smoking is currently banned until there is evidence that exhaled vapour is not harmful. It also recommends that health warnings should appear on products, including the risk of nicotine addiction and the potential damage that nicotine can cause to unborn babies and young people.

WHO highlights that marketing of e-cigarettes could glamorise their use and make them appeal to young people. As a result, it recommends that any e-cigarettes containing fruit, candy or alcohol flavourings should be banned until there is evidence to show that these products are not attractive to children or young people.

Manufacturers, and others, should also be prevented from claiming that the products can help people give up smoking cigarettes, or describing them as smoking cessation aids, until there is scientific proof and adequate regulations in place, it says.

The recommendations appear in a report[1] on electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) due to be discussed at the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control being held in Moscow in October 2014.   

The report says: “The rapid growth of ENDS use globally can neither be dismissed nor accepted without efforts to appropriately regulate these products, so as to minimise consequences that may contribute to the tobacco epidemic and to optimise the potential benefits to public health.”

The WHO describes regulation as a “necessary precondition for establishing a scientific basis on which to judge the effects of their use”. Regulation will also ensure that adequate research is conducted into their impact on public health.

The report adds: “Public health authorities need to prioritise research and invest adequately. However, the greater responsibility to prove claims about ENDS scientifically should remain with the industry.”




Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2014.20066268

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