Health

WHO calls for countries to ban flavored e-cigarettes to protect kids

Health officials are worried about the "alarming increase" in the use of e-cigarettes among children.

Disposable flavored electronic cigarette devices are displayed for sale.
Rebecca Blackwell/AP
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The World Health Organization is calling on countries to take "urgent action" to prevent children from becoming addicted to e-cigarettes. 

"There is an alarming increase in the use of e-cigarettes among children and young people with rates exceeding adult use in many countries,” said Dr Ruediger Krech, WHO director for Health Promotion.

The Centers for Disease Control reports that as of March 31, 2023, all 50 states and the District of Columbia had passed legislation prohibiting the sale of e-cigarettes to minors. 

However, the World Health Organization believes countries can go even further to prevent children from vaping. The organization says countries like the U.S. should ban all flavors, limit the concentration and quality of nicotine and tax the products to discourage use. 

Biden administration delaying ban on menthol cigarettes
Biden administration delaying ban on menthol cigarettes

Biden administration delaying ban on menthol cigarettes

The White House opted to wait to enact a ban on menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars amid pressure from tobacco companies.

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The CDC notes that e-cigarette aerosols that people breathe in and exhale can contain potentially harmful substances, including cancer-causing chemicals. 

"It is difficult for consumers to know what e-cigarette products contain," the CDC states. "For example, some e-cigarettes marketed as containing zero percent nicotine have been found to contain nicotine."

Health officials note that e-cigarettes are less harmful than regular cigarettes, but add that it doesn't mean the products are safe. 

While many smokers use e-cigarettes as a method to stop smoking traditional cigarettes, the CDC says that it is not an approved method. In fact, the agency says a study showed that many adults who used e-cigarettes in an attempt to quit smoking actually ended up using both products.