Members' Research Service By / November 18, 2014

Prospects for e-cigarettes go up in smoke

Written by Nicole Scholz The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently published a report on Electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) ….

© flydragon / Fotolia
Written by Nicole Scholz

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently published a report on Electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) . The report, which includes a negative appraisal of e-cigarettes and cautions on their use, informed the discussions on one of the main agenda items at the sixth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP6) to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) , held from 13‑18 October 2014 in Moscow.

The WHO report

Based on an observed increase in the use of e-cigarettes and the rapidly evolving scientific evidence, the report raises three main questions and makes proposals and specific recommendations concerning regulation.

  • What are the health risks of ENDS to users and non-users?

The potential risks range from eye and respiratory irritation (propylene glycol) and poisoning by ingestion or skin contact (nicotine), to the long-term effects of chronic inhalation (nicotine, propylene glycol, formaldehyde and flavourings) on brain development, which warrants special caution for children, adolescents and pregnant women, regardless of whether or not they are actively or passively e-smoking.

  • How efficient are they in helping smokers quit?

As the limited evidence available to date suggests, ENDS lead to a reduction in the number of cigarettes smoked rather than a complete cessation of smoking. The result is predominantly a dual use (of conventional cigarettes and e-cigarettes) that has less health benefits than stopping smoking altogether.

  • What impact do they have on existing tobacco-control efforts?

There is a growing public health dispute on this point. While some experts have welcomed them as a useful cessation aid, others have argued that they could interfere with efforts to ‘de-normalise’ smoking. They have challenged the main message of tobacco control (i.e. smoking should not be started or, if started, should be stopped) and could undermine smoke-free policies since their use is allowed in places where smoking conventional cigarettes is not. Various appealing flavours might also entice young people to experiment with them.

The COP6 discussions

Prospects for e-cigarettes go up in smoke
© flydragon / Fotolia

The discussions relating to the WHO report led to the drafting and final adoption of the decision on Electronic nicotine delivery systems and electronic non-nicotine delivery systems (ENDS and ENNDS – the latter were added in the course of the debate). The participants thus followed the recommendations set out in the report by acknowledging the need for regulations in line with those for other tobacco products. Specifically, the decision invites parties to:

  • prevent non-smokers and youths in particular from being encouraged to use ENDS/ENNDS;
  • minimise their potential health risks to users and protect non-users from their emissions;
  • prevent unproven health claims about them;
  • monitor their use;
  • protect tobacco-control activities from the influence of commercial and other interests, including those of the tobacco industry.

Parties are urged to consider banning or restricting promotion, advertising and sponsoring of these devices. As a follow-up, WHO is to prepare an update report for the seventh session of the COP expected to take place in the last quarter of 2016 or first quarter of 2017.

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  • We have a situation on our hands where that unless it is taxed by the government in will be contronvesial until banned. Although many proclaimed benefits of an e cigarette for some reason it is doubted even though there is millions of positive reviews and far out weigh the negatives. Could it really be worse than traditional smoking… I don’t think so!

  • Quote: “The potential risks ….. warrants (sic) special caution for children, adolescents and pregnant women, regardless of whether or not they are actively or passively e-smoking”. Note, not actual ‘risks’, ‘potential risks’. Potential risks include such things as being hit by space debris, swamped by a tsunami, executed by the state, tripping over a kerbstone, breaking a finger-nail. ‘Potential risks’ are meaningless without specifying the degree of risk, and the possible harm from their happening. Furthermore, the article says that the subjects of these risks (the cheeldren, whether as yet unborn or in their 2nd or 3rd decade of life) are at risk whether or not they are active or ‘passive’ e-smokers. Firstly, they cannot be e-smokers for the simple reason that they are not subject to SMOKE. Smoke, by any definition, comes from combustion, not evaporation, and secondly, ‘whether OR NOT’ they are subject to any vapour at all means that the absence of vapour, or the presence of vapour, is immaterial. That being so, where is the identifiable harm from e-cigarettes. That’s right,; there is none to be found! So why don’t WHO just shut up and do something about Ebola and avian flu? Oh, of course, no big bucks to be squandered on high living in Moscow! Silly me!

  • OK so do I have this right, they are concerned with 4 chemicals PG, nicotine, formaldehyde (ALL PRESENT WITH 3,997 OTHER CHEMICALS IN ANALOGUES) and flavor. I feel that’s a Tad hypocritical are they not making a ho har about their use in tobacco? WHY NOT if its potentially bad to inhale surely it should be vetted in tobacco to, along with the cancer causing tar, arsnic – you know I’ve no time for the other 3995
    Shall we move on to effectiveness. I smoked 40+ for 30 yrs. I used triple the amount of patches (as 1 states up to 20 a day, but warns not to exceed) I burnt the inside of NY nose&throat with NRT spray with nicotine in and SHOCKER no child safe cap like our eluiquids OMG what if the kids drink that or chew the gum????? So my success rate. Well I even threw in a cartridge NRT think you inhale got terribly sick – guessing early stage nicotine poisoning & STILL SMOKED. I purchased 1 tank 1 battery 1 eluiquid a while on NEVER touched another analogue and I hear that from so many vapers who like me continue to reduce nicotine intake as&when they’re comfortable to do so.
    It should not undermine smoke free policys for two reason Firstly VAPING is VAPOUR NOT SMOKE. If the visual similarity or aroma is not pleasing and people don’t want vaping in non smoking areas the solutions not rocket science – get a no vaping sign. identical to non smoking but 2lines. Its also my experience if the area is non smoking a vaper will respect that & not vape OR ask. There are of course exceptions, just as in non smoking areas some lifts/toilets are used by tobacco smokers to get around the non smoking rule.
    This wont be popular but 2 things on flavour NEWS FLASH adults like sweet things too&personally when I vape I don’t want ANY reminder if tobacco so id rather a mouthful if custard or w/e flavour than tobacco attempted flavours. IF my kids were ever at the. hmmm I’m curious about smoking stage let me think would I prefer they try a cig, the item that held me prisoner for 30 yrs or vape- do I have to answer that? Ideally neither but HELLO it’s 2014 teens ARE having early sex, are drinking are experimenting with legal&illegal drugs you’d have to be a total mong if you thought otherwise, I thought parents were supposed to educate& reduce harm, or has the lock them in their room for 2weeks method been prooven to work now not make them rebel more.
    In addition what about the highly appealing candy / fruity bright blue, pink red etc alcohol blatantly on display, is that not just if not more alluring as they know alcohol will produce nice feelings? FFS wake up
    plenty of studies have& continue to be undertaken regarding effects, health, passive vaping& if people find it helps quit tobacco. How about telling the truth, speculation of course but since ecigs a 2BILLION profit drop must be a giant kick in the…yup unable to tax eluiquids as their NOT. a tobacco product and unable to list as a nicotine replacement treatment as if you do they can never fall under tobacco products& be taxed ..That’s just my feeling, as tests, surveys and even independent testing by reputable sellers is done, its all a vain attempt at scatemongry & bla bla
    I believe its past the validation date to sign but keep an eye out express YOUR RIGHT TO VAPE if future petitions need signing as governments make these decisions WE NEED TO BE HEARD check out efvi for any like the one below
    Smoking is dead vaping IS the future “RipTrippers”

  • One third of ecig users in the UK are now nonsmokers that equates to approximately 700,000 people who have ceased to smoke by using these devices. The evidence is there if you bother to read it. However given the clear intention by the WHO to ban and restrict vaping regardless of it’s potential benefits it doesn’t really surprise me any more. Twisting the facts to suit a preconceived agenda isn’t science.

    • Jesse Pinkman had a firmer grasp os science than this, another nonsensical spewage of lies & nonsense. BTW I think your figures might be a little off, last I knew it was 2million vapers; however if your refrence includes those only vaping 0% nicotine or completely quit smoking and then vaping Also, I admit I am unfamiliar with that figue&apologize

      • Those are the statistic from ASH UK if I’m not mistaken.
        Violetcheery, I think you are confusing non smokers with non nicotine users. It’s not the same and it’s a real problem that people can’t seem to grasp this very simple premise.

        • I realised after I posted you meant UK figures, that’s apparently worldwide the amount of vapers we have. I assume their liquids vary in nic contet from 0 to 36, (if pre made) I’ve no idea the figures on NRT users or 0% nice, previous smoker/vapers but 2mil of us makes me question why more don’t get activity involved. even just in signing online items.

    • It is just two decades since this august body rated homosexuality as a curable condition – it takes them a very long time to accept the inevitable!

  • The W.H.O is an advisory body with so many shortcomings to its credit, or discredit, that any attempt to implement it’s suggestions might be seen by many to be pandering to the interests of its funders and lobbyists, Scientific evidence provided by experts in their fields was totally ignored at the recent £1.6 million shindig in Moscow from which Press and Public were ejected. The Ebola outbreak was at its height but massively ignored while they spent time apparently protecting the interests of the industries which have failed dismally to make any impact on smoking. but have made obscene profits from their useless products. Governments (taxpayers) have footed the bill for this, but I believe and hope that the success of the electronic cigarette has now made the legality and desirability of its use a fait accompli.

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