Ban flavored vapes, WHO says, urging tobacco-style controls

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LONDON — The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday urged governments to treat e-cigarettes similarly to tobacco and ban all flavors, threatening cigarette companies’ bets on smoking alternatives.

Some researchers, campaigners and governments see e-cigarettes, or vapes, as a key tool in reducing the death and disease caused by smoking. But the UN agency said “urgent measures” were needed to control them.

Citing studies, it said there was insufficient evidence that vapes helped smokers quit, that they were harmful to health and that they could drive nicotine addiction among non-smokers, especially children and young people.

More 13- to 15-year-olds are using vapes than adults in all WHO regions helped by aggressive marketing, it continued.

“Kids are being recruited and trapped at an early age to use e-cigarettes and may get hooked to nicotine,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, urging countries to implement strict measures.

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