WHO calls for stricter regulation of electronic cigarettes

Posted on Jul 27, 2021, 5:07 PMUpdated on Jul 27, 2021, 5:08 PM

The World Health Organization (WHO) is sounding the alarm clock against electronic cigarettes. In a report produced jointly with Bloomberg Philanthropies, the UN organization warned against e-cigarettes and other similar products that are “dangerous to health” and “must be regulated to nip tactics in the bud. of the tobacco industry to recruit customers ”.

“Nicotine is very addictive and electronic nicotine inhalers are dangerous and need to be better regulated,” summed up Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the WHO.

Children and adolescents in the viewfinder

The report notes that the manufacturers of these products, whose palette continues to expand, often target children and adolescents with thousands of mouthwatering flavors – the report listed 16,000 different – and statements. reassuring.

Billionaire Michael Bloomberg, former New York mayor who has long been fighting smoking, has also denounced the tactics of the tobacco companies. “As cigarette sales decline, tobacco companies have aggressively promoted new products like e-cigarettes or heated tobacco products and lobbied governments to limit their regulation,” he said. accused. “Their goal is simple: to make a new generation addicted to nicotine and we can’t let them.”

Adequate measures to protect young people

The WHO boss believes that where these products are not banned, “governments should adopt adequate measures to protect their population from the danger of these electronic nicotine inhalers, and prevent children, adolescents and others. vulnerable groups do not use them ”.

The use of these electronic cigarettes by those under 20 is of particular concern to the UN agency, in particular because of the harmful effects of nicotine on brain development in this age group and the danger that certain ingredients can present. The agency also estimates that children who use these devices are more likely to smoke later.

The smoke screen of tobacco companies

Rudïger Krech, director of health promotion at WHO, admitted that regulating the sector was not easy because “these products are very diverse and evolve rapidly”. “This is one of the ways in which manufacturers subvert and undermine control measures,” he added.

In its report, the WHO recommends that governments do what is necessary to prevent non-smokers from using e-cigarettes and other electronic cigars, in particular for fear of “renormalizing” the act of smoking in society.

According to the report, 32 countries ban the sale of these electronic nicotine inhalers and 79 have adopted at least one measure to limit their use such as banning advertising. But underlines the WHO, 84 countries have no safeguards against the proliferation of this type of product.

Although the proportion of smokers has declined in many countries, population growth means that the total number of smokers remains “stubbornly high,” the report said. Smoking kills 8 million people a year, including 1 million passive smoking.

Source: AFP

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