Vape News

WHO Pushes For E-Cigarette Bans Amid Growing Youth Usage

Global health agency urges strict vaping regulations, including flavor prohibitions, to curb surging adolescent addiction.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for a crackdown on e-cigarettes over mounting evidence of harm - especially to young people. Citing studies, it contends vapes drive nicotine addiction in teens via slick marketing and kid-friendly flavors.

Implement Tobacco Controls Say WHO

"Urgent measures" are needed said the agency, including bringing vapes into line with existing tobacco regulations. That encompasses bans on public use alongside far higher taxes to curb affordability.

The WHO also wants countries to outlaw all non-tobacco e-liquid flavors that appeal to adolescents. Menthol, candy and fruit varieties help attract young non-smokers it says, facilitating youth addiction.

And with more 13-15 year olds vaping than adults globally, curbs can't come soon enough contends WHO head Tedros Adhanom. "Kids are being trapped into nicotine addiction at an early age," he warned.

Evidence Lacking On Cessation Benefits

While some groups position vapes as smoking cessation aids, the WHO says supportive data is lacking. Studies don't yet prove e-cigs reliably help smokers quit, but clearly show harm including cancer and heart disease risks.

That contradicts claims by tobacco giants like Philip Morris that cigarette alternatives significantly cut health dangers. The industry bills vapes as pivotal to building new revenue streams as smoking rates fall and rules bite in developed markets.

But the WHO argues any marginal cessation benefits don't offset wider population risks - especially for non-smoking youth now more likely to vape than adults. And it wants authorities to act fast before addiction patterns become further entrenched.

Compliance Complex For Nations

The catch? WHO guidance isn't legally binding, meaning national compliance is voluntary. While its advice often filters down into local regulations, progress could be slow.

Big Tobacco is sure to lobby hard against blanket flavor bans too. Firms like British American Tobacco and Philip Morris have sunk major resource into vapes, relying on products like fruity disposables to drive sales.

So while the WHO talks tough on regulating vapes akin to traditional smokes, factions of the tobacco control community disagree. Some see flavors and price incentives as key to transitioning adult smokers off cigarettes.

Striking the right balance between curbing youth uptake and maintaining cessation momentum won't be easy. And with research still unfolding, the vaping endgame remains clouded in uncertainty.

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