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Scientists Urge U.N. To ‘Hold Firm’ On E-Cig Regulations

A group of physicians and other doctors from 31 counties wrote a letter countering another group advocating for the U.N. to go easy on electronic cigarettes.

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By Shawn Dwyer

06/16/14

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A letter written by 129 physicians and other scientists representing 31 countries have urged the World Health Organization to hold firm on its intentions to impose strict regulations on e-cigarettes.

The letter came in response to a previous letter written by 53 experts who attempted to compel the United Nations agency to relax their proposed regulations on electronic cigarettes. In their view, e-cigs represent a “part of the solution” in eliminating smoking regular tobacco.

The counter letter was critical of that particular stance and of the industry’s methods of marketing, particularly in regard to children. The signatories of that letter said that the proposed WHO regulations were necessary to "prevent initiation of use among youth and other non-tobacco users, protect bystanders in public areas from involuntary exposure, regulate marketing, and prohibit unsubstantiated claims."

But proponents of electronic cigarettes said that the product, which has risen rapidly in popularity "could be among the most significant health innovations of the 21st century” and warned that any “urge to control and suppress them as tobacco products should be resisted."

However, opponents of e-cigs pointed out that while the product does contain fewer carcinogens than regular cigarettes, some half dozen studies have shown that the vapor does contain particles that can damage the lungs, as well as "carcinogens and reproductive toxins, including benzene, lead, nickel, and others."

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