Despite the fact that the EVALI cases have been linked to the consumption of illicit THC, the World Health Organization (WHO) says it is disturbed by the fact that vaping devices keep being marketed as safer alternatives to cigarettes and/or smoking cessation tools.

The WHO says there should be a ban on the promotion of vaping products to nonsmokers, pregnant women and minors.

Even though research has indicated the contrary, WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier, says that these health claims are unproven. “While these electronic nicotine delivery systems may be less toxic than conventional cigarettes, this does not make them harmless,” he said.

“They produce aerosols from the vapor that contain toxicants that can result in a range of significant pathological changes. These ends pose health risks for nonsmokers, to minors, to pregnant women — all of those who should not use such systems.”

The panic surrounding vaping could have disastrous effects

In line with suggestions by harm reduction and vaping advocates, the WHO says that there should be a sensible ban on the promotion of the products to nonsmokers, pregnant women and minors. Meanwhile, renowned Canadian public health expert David Sweanor, explains that the growing panic surrounding vaping and any bans that may arise as a result of it, could have disastrous consequences in reversing the positive results that have been achieved in decreasing smoking rates.

“This is hugely counterproductive,” he said. “We have the potential to get rid of our leading cause of preventable death. What is killing people is the smoke, not the nicotine.”

Forgetting who the real villains are

An adjunct professor in the Centre for Health Law, Policy and Ethics at the University of Ottawa, Sweanor has been at the forefront of efforts to reduce cigarette smoking in Canada and around the world, for the last 30 years.

He explains that while e-cigarettes offer a lot of potential as harm reduction tools, currently everyone seems to be forgetting who the real villains are. “It is like everyone has forgotten about smoking,” he said.

Read Further: VOA

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In-house journalist covering international vaping news.