World Health Organization Calls for International Ban On E-Cigarettes March 20 2015

THE head of the World Health Organization (WHO) has called for governments across the world to ban e-cigarettes.

E-cigarettes, which some experts consider to be less addictive than tobacco, have been viewed as potential alternatives by some researchers. But speaking at the World Conference on Tobacco or Health in Abu Dhabi yesterday Dr Margaret Chan, Director General, WHO, insisted “non-smoking should be the norm”.

She also said that e-cigarettes encourage young people to smoke. Chan said: “All governments should ban e-cigarettes or electronic nicotine delivery systems as they push millions of youngsters into the smoking habit. E-cigarettes do contain nicotine, which creates an addiction to the substance and that alone is a health risk.”

She added: “There are many flavours for e-cigarettes. Although they remove the smell of tobacco, some refills have been found to contain harmful chemicals. E-cigarettes have almost 8,000 different flavours. “Some flavours like fruit and candy could encourage young people to start smoking, which may be dangerous as they contain nicotine.”

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Dr Chan also told Arab nations to step up measures in the fight against the use of tobacco, which she said was a major killer in the region. “The use of tobacco is growing – especially among young people who continue to adopt other forms of tobacco such as shisha and midwakh,” she said. “I think it’s high time for Gulf countries to increase efforts to combat tobacco, as the region has got many cases of people with diabetes and smoking-related diseases.”

E-cigarettes are still sold in the UAE despite a nationwide ban. Dr Wedad Al Maidoor, head of the UAE National Committee for Tobacco Control at the UAE Ministry of Health (MoH), said an app is to be introduced to give smokers information on how to quit the habit. “We hope to introduce the smokers’ smartphone app by end of the year,” Al Maidoor said.