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World Health Organization Calls for 'Urgent' Ban on Flavored Vapes

World Health Organization Calls for 'Urgent' Ban on Flavored Vapes

The World Health Organization has called for an "urgent" ban on flavored vapes to "protect children."

In a Thursday press release, the organization said that "banning all" flavors of electronic cigarettes, putting limits on "the concentration and quality of nicotine" and taxing e-cigarettes is necessary to "counter nicotine addiction."

The organization said that e-cigarettes are aggressively marketed towards young people and 88 countries have no minimum age for purchase. There are no regulations at all in 74 countries, according to WHO.

The sale of flavored vapes is currently banned in 34 countries.

“Kids are being recruited and trapped at an early age to use e-cigarettes and may get hooked to nicotine," said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. "I urge countries to implement strict measures to prevent uptake to protect their citizens, especially their children and young people.”

Long term health effects of vapes is not currently known, but WHO says it "has been established that they generate toxic substances, some of which are known to cause cancer and some that increase the risk of heart and lung disorders."

The press release added, "Use of e-cigarettes can also affect brain development and lead to learning disorders for young people. Fetal exposure to e-cigarettes can adversely affect the development of the fetus in pregnant women. Exposure to emissions from e-cigarettes also poses risks to bystanders."

“E-cigarettes target children through social media and influencers, with at least 16 000 flavours. Some of these products use cartoon characters and have sleek designs, which appeal to the younger generation. There is an alarming increase in the use of e-cigarettes among children and young people with rates exceeding adult use in many countries,” Dr Ruediger Krech, WHO Director for Health Promotion.

WHO noted that children between the ages of 13 and 15 are using e-cigarettes at higher rates than adults in all regions that they monitor.

"In Canada, the rates of e-cigarette use among 16–19-year-olds has doubled between 2017–2022, and in England (the United Kingdom) the number of young users has tripled in the past three years," the press release asserted. "Even brief exposure to e-cigarette content on social media can be associated with increased intention to use these products, as well as more positive attitudes toward e-cigarettes. Studies consistently show that young people that use e-cigarettes are almost three times more likely to use cigarettes later in life."

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study in July found that more than one in ten Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 are using vapes regularly, according to a report from The Hill.

During the same month, the American Heart Association (AHA) released a report saying that vapes can be damaging to your heart and lungs.

“Because e-cigarettes and other vaping systems have only been in the U.S. for about 15 years, we do not yet have enough information on their long-term health effects, so we must rely on shorter term studies, molecular experiments and research in animals to try to assess the true risk of using e-cigarettes,” volunteer chair of the AHA scientific statement writing committee Jason Rose wrote in the report.

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