In a new report, the body says the aerosol produced by so-called electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), of which e-cigrattes are the most common type, “is not merely ‘water vapour’ as is often claimed in the marketing for these products”.
“ENDS use poses serious threats to adolescents and fetuses. In addition, it increases exposure of non-smokers and bystanders to nicotine and a number of toxicants.”
The report says the reduced exposure to toxicants of “well-regulated” e-cigarettes used by established adult smokers as a complete substitution for cigarettes is “likely to be less toxic” than conventional cigarettes.
“The amount of risk reduction, however, is presently unknown.”
The WHO said e-cigarette users “should be legally requested not to use ENDS indoors, especially where smoking is banned until exhaled vapour is proven to be not harmful to bystanders and reasonable evidence exists that smoke-free policy enforcement is not undermined”.
It also calls for restrictions on advertising and sponsorship around the products.
The report is to be discussed at October’s WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in Moscow.
The Welsh Government has already said it wants e-cigarettes to be treated the same as standards cigarettes and be banned in enclosed public places. The Department of Health has not gone that far but it wants to ban the sale of such products to under-18s.
Should the use of e-cigarettes indoors be banned?