UK researchers criticise WHO e-ciggie paper

Joseph Millis
BRITISH researchers yesterday claimed a World Health Organisation (WHO) report into e-cigarettes contained errors, misinterpretations and misrepresentations, causing policymakers to ignore their potential health benefits.

The WHO’s report last month called for stiff regulation of e-cigarettes, as well as bans on indoor use, advertising and sales to minors.

However, Ann McNeill, a researchers at the national addiction centre at King’s College London, said: “I was shocked and surprised when I read it. I felt it was an inaccurate portrayal of the evidence on e-cigarettes.”

McNeill said that while “we certainly don’t yet have all the answers as to their long-term health impact”, it was clear they are far safer than cigarettes, which killed more than six million people a year.

Peter Hajek of the tobacco dependence research unit at Queen Mary University of London added: “There are two products competing for smokers’ custom. The conventional cigarette, which endangers users and bystanders… The other – the e-cigarette – is orders of magnitude safer, poses no risk to bystanders, and generates negligible rates of regular use among non-smoking children who try it.”