The World Health Organization Wants to Ban E-Cigarettes Indoors

The World Health Organization has published a report today which argues for stiff regulation of electronic cigarettes—and calls for a ban on their use indoors.

The report also demands that restrictions be placed on advertising and the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, as well as highlighting the need for regulations on their contents. The news will upset those in the industry and, ironically, the major tobacco companies—which are already taking advantage of the burgeoning $3 billion market.

It's not the first negative reaction to be garnered by e-cigarettes. We've already reported on the fact that e-cigarettes seems to alter cells a lot like tobacco does, and that those arguing that they're perfectly safe are on potentially sticky ground—but there's yet to be a firm consensus reached. Indeed, the new report comes just days after the American Heart Association said that e-cigarettes could be used to help people quit smoking.

That doesn't bother the World Health Organization. It's calling for a ban of fruit and candy flavored e-cigarettes, pointing out that they may appeal to minors, and for stringent regulation of the liquid used in e-cigarettes, in order to "minimize content and emissions of toxicants." It also argues that governments need to regulate health claims made by manufacturers—especially given the current lack of empirical evidence about the impact of e-cigarettes. Its drive to ban the use of e-cigarettes indoors is based on the fact that they expose non-smoking bystanders to nicotine, and that some evidence suggests their emissions are "not merely water vapor."

So, we're still some way from a consensus over e-caigarettes, but the voices against seems to gathering in number and volume. It'll be interesting to see how the argument pans out. [WHO via Reuters]