Published On: Fri, Nov 8th, 2013

International health body, The Union, calls for ‘urgent regulation’ of e-cigarettes

Just months after the World Health Organization (WHO) released a statement advising against the use of e-cigarettes, another international health organization has come out against the smoking cessation aid.

Members of the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Health (The Union) issued a warning about the potential health impact of e-cigarettes and electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) and called for urgent regulation of the product at the 44th Union World Conference on Lung Health in Paris recently.

Two brands of e-cigs with the corresponding spare battery.  Equazcion at the wikipedia project

Two brands of e-cigs with the corresponding spare battery.
Equazcion at the wikipedia project

The statement notes that many e-cigarette and ENDS vendors have promoted their products as a “healthy” alternative. Their marketing messages mislead consumers to believe that these products have been proven to be safe, both for users and for people who would be exposed to second-hand smoke.

The international lung health organization says among other things that the safety of these products has not been scientifically demonstrated, scientific testing indicates that the products vary widely in the amount of nicotine and other chemicals they deliver, the current lack of regulation or monitoring means that there is no way for consumers to find out what is actually delivered by the product they have purchased.

In addition, The Union says the chemicals used in electronic cigarettes have not been fully disclosed, and there are no adequate data on their emissions and adverse health effects for third parties exposed (second-hand exposure) cannot be excluded because the use of electronic cigarettes leads to the emission of fine and ultrafine inhalable liquid particles, nicotine and cancer-causing substances into indoor air.

The Union also expressed concerns over the e-cigarettes impact on young people citing a recent study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that e-cigarette experimentation and recent use doubled among US middle and high school students during 2011–2012, resulting in an estimated 1.78 million students having ever used e-cigarettes as of 2012.

They also say there is no evidence of e-cigarettes being a proven successful smoking cessation aid.

“E-cigarette and ENDS manufacturers and vendors have been vocal about the supposed benefits of their products and quick to shout down calls for regulation or questions about their contents”, says José Luis Castro, Interim Executive Director of The Union. “Today, the Union makes its position clear. Based on our review of the available evidence, we strongly support the regulation of the manufacture, marketing and sale of electronic cigarettes or electronic nicotine delivery systems; and our preferred option is to regulate these products as medicines”.

Castro is compares the e-cigarette to traditional tobacco cigarettes saying, “Right now, significant numbers of people around the globe are using these products and they just don’t know what they are ingesting, what that might mean for their health in the long term or what their use of e-cigarettes and ENDS means for the people around them.

” It is an echo of the traditional cigarette industry in the 20th century, which created the current global epidemic of tobacco-related harm and mortality. To avoid repeating the same mistakes, we need to act now to regulate e-cigarettes and protect consumers around the world”.


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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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