Although the level of risk has not yet been definitively estimated, electronic cigarettes are undoubtedly harmful to our health and should therefore be subject to regulation.” This is the opinion of the World Health Organisation (WHO) just expressed in the section dedicated to electronic nicotine delivery systems, contained in the new report on the global epidemic of tobacco recently published 2019, according to which, in general, smokers in the world are about 1.4 billion (mostly men), and about 8 million people die due to smoking (both active and passive). In general, the WHO talks about those devices that heat a liquid containing nicotine to create an aerosol that is inhaled by the user.

After having extensively analysed and summarised the studies on electronic cigarettes and the health risks available in the literature, according to the WHO there is not enough evidence today that the ecig are really effective and helpful to the smokers who use it with intention to quit smoking.

“To date, partly due to the diversity of ecig-related products and the limited evidence available, the potential of electronic cigarettes to play a role as a tobacco cessation intervention in the population is not yet clear,” the document reads.

Image: Getty Images

But not only; according to the new report, the use of ecig among adolescents has increased exponentially. Between 2011 and 2018, data from surveys conducted in the United States showed that the rate of use by young people rose from 1.5% to 20.8%.

Young people who smoke electronic cigarettes are exposed to nicotine, which can have long-term effects on the developing brain, ” the document reads. There is also a real risk of dependence  on this substance, given that there is more and more evidence available that shows that young non-smokers who use ecig have twice the chances of starting smoking traditional cigarettes later in life.

Although electronic cigarettes are generally less toxic than traditional cigarettes (tobacco), “the ecig are not harmless and governments that have not banned them should consider their regulation as harmful products, including them in the list of tobacco products, products that they imitate tobacco or in an even more specific category,” concludes the WHO, specifying, finally, that it should prohibit  advertising and apply taxes to discourage their use as much as possible.