THE World Health Organisation has issued its most hard-hitting warning yet about e-cigarettes – claiming they are not safe and increase the risk of heart disease and lung disorders.

The authority said that vaping was particularly risky for the developing brains of teenagers, and could damage a growing foetus.

 Vaping is risky for the developing brains of teens, and could damage a growing foetus

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Vaping is risky for the developing brains of teens, and could damage a growing foetusCredit: Getty – Contributor

And they warned that e-cigarettes expose non-smokers and vapers to nicotine and other harmful chemicals – in a string of strongly worded messages during a Q&A on Twitter yesterday.

On top of this, the body said there was “little evidence” that they helped smokers to quit – and said they may actually get non-smokers hooked on nicotine.

And they urged governments to consider taxing the products in a similar way as cigarettes and regulating their promotion and use.

“E-cigarettes are harmful to health and are not safe,” the body said.

 The World Health Organisation has issued its strongest warning to date about e-cigarettes, claiming they are not safe

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The World Health Organisation has issued its strongest warning to date about e-cigarettes, claiming they are not safeCredit: Twitter

“E-cigarettes increase the risk of heart disease and lung disorders.

“They pose significant risks as they can damage the growing foetus. They also expose non-smokers to nicotine and other harmful chemicals.

“They are particularly risky when used by adolescents. Nicotine is highly addictive and young people’s brains develop up to their mid-twenties.

E-cigarettes increase the risk of heart disease and lung disorders

The World Health Organisation

“Exposure to nicotine can have long-lasting, damaging effects.”

When asked if vapes were less dangerous than regular cigarettes, the organisation would not give a definitive answer.

They said: “This depends on a range of factors, including the amount of nicotine and other toxicants in the heated liquids, but we know that e-cigarettes pose clear health risks and are by no means safe.”

 The organisation refused to say whether vaping was less harmful than cigarettes during the Q&A

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The organisation refused to say whether vaping was less harmful than cigarettes during the Q&ACredit: Twitter

Since 2015 Public Health England (PHE) has encouraged smokers to switch to vaping, claiming it is 95 per cent safer than smoking tobacco.

However it has since emerged that a study used by PHE to advise that vaping was safe was funded by the e-cigarette industry.

And some experts have now questioned the 95 per cent figure and called for PHE to stop recommending e-cigarettes.

Latest figures from the Department of Health (DoH) show that one in 16 adults now vapes, and nearly one in five current smokers also uses e-cigarettes alongside normal cigarettes.

How safe are e-cigarettes in the UK?

In the UK, e-cigarettes are tightly regulated for safety and quality.

They’re not completely risk free, but they carry a small fraction of the risk of cigarettes.

E-cigarettes do not produce tar or carbon monoxide, two of the most harmful elements in tobacco smoke.

The liquid and vapour contain some potentially harmful chemicals also found in cigarette smoke, but at much lower levels.

While nicotine is the addictive substance in cigarettes, it’s relatively harmless.

Almost all of the harm from smoking comes from the thousands of other chemicals in tobacco smoke, many of which are toxic.

Nicotine replacement therapy has been widely used for many years to help people stop smoking and is a safe treatment.

There’s no evidence so far that vaping causes harm to other people around you.

This is in contrast to secondhand smoke from smoking, which is known to be very harmful to health.

Source: NHS

The proportion of youngsters who haven’t smoked but have tried vaping is increasing, the DoH said in its last report.

Commenting on the new warnings, Prof John Newton, Director for Health Improvement at PHE told The Telegraph: “We continue to keep the evidence on e-cigarettes under review.

“However smoking kills half of life long smokers and accounts for almost 220 deaths in England every day.

“If you don’t smoke don’t vape. But if you smoke there is no situation where it would be better for your health to continue smoking rather than switching completely to vaping.”

The World Health Organisation, said there is ‘no doubt’ that e-cigarettes are harmful, but said it was too early to tell the long-term impact.

They also warned that e-cigarettes can burn skin and rapidly cause nicotine poisoning if swallowed or absorbed through the skin.

They said there was a risk of the devices leaking, or of children swallowing the liquid, and have been known to cause serious injuries through fires and explosions.

The experts said that for tobacco users looking to quit, there were other proven, safer and licensed products, such as nicotine replacement patches and gums and dependence treatments.

What is the impact of vaping compared to smoking cigarettes?





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