The World Health Organization has published a report today which argues for stiff regulation of electronic cigarettesā€”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 companiesā€”which are already taking advantage of the burgeoning $3 billion market.

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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 groundā€”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 manufacturersā€”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."

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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]