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WHO Report on use of e-cigarettes

Why is it in the news?

  • WHO has released a report stressing the critical need to control the use of e-cigarettes, titled “Electronic Cigarettes: Call to Action.”
About Electronic Cigarettes (E-cigarettes)

·       Battery-powered devices that heat e-liquid to create an inhalable aerosol.

·       Contain nicotine, chemicals, and flavourings.

·       Also referred to as vapes, vape pens, and electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).


Regulations on use of e-cigarettes worldwide

·       34 countries have implemented ban on the sale of e-cigarettes.

·       In 88 countries, there is no established minimum age for the purchase of e-cigarettes.

·       Alarmingly, 74 countries lack any regulations regarding the use of these potentially harmful products.

·       The possession of e-cigarettes and similar devices is explicitly prohibited in India under the Prohibition of Electronic Cigarette Act, 2019.


Key Highlights of the Report

  • Despite being promoted as a less harmful alternative, e-cigarettes are not proven effective for quitting tobacco at the population level.
  • E-cigarettes are found to generate substances linked to cancer, heart and lung diseases, and potential issues with brain development.
  • Exposure to e-cigarette content on social media platforms increases the likelihood of e-cigarette use.
  • Young individuals using e-cigarettes are almost three times more likely to transition to traditional cigarettes later in life.
  • Globally, there is a concerning increase in e-cigarette use among youths aged 13-15, surpassing adult usage.
  • An example is cited in Canada, where e-cigarette use among 16 to 19-year-olds doubled between 2017 and 2022.
  • In response to these findings, WHO urgently calls upon countries to implement stringent measures to control and regulate the use of e-cigarettes, highlighting the potential health risks associated with their usage.
  • The report underscores the need for global awareness and action to address the growing public health concern related to e-cigarette consumption.

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