In its war on smoking, says the Daily Mail, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is getting ahead of itself – and indeed widening its campaign to include nicotine delivery-systems as well as tobacco. The paper reports that the WHO is advising a ban on using e-cigarettes in public places – due to passive smoking risks which have yet to be proved. The WHO has also said that young people could be “recruited” into a nicotine addiction through e-cigarettes – again, without producing any in-depth research – and that such products should carry warnings, as the nicotine they deliver might be “tumour promot[ing]”.
This, say sceptics, is passing off forecasts as truth. And it has even alarmed the many anti-smoking campaigners who see the enemy as carcinogenic tobacco smoke, rather than vaporised nicotine. For example, the UK organisation ASH has produced two reports showing that the risk from e-cigarettes is extremely low compared to smoking, and that only a small fraction of young people are using e-cigarettes as a gateway.
Professor Kevin Fenton, national director of health and wellbeing at Public Health England tells the Mail that: “The evidence remains clear, with PHE’s most recent review and the Royal College of Physicians both finding that, while not completely risk-free, vaping carries a fraction of the risk of smoking – around 95% less harmful.”