TUESDAY, Aug. 26, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Joining a number of other health agencies, the United Nations' World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday recommended that countries regulate electronic cigarettes and ban their use indoors until studies prove that "vaping" is harmless to bystanders.
WHO also urged its 194 member states to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, and also ban or minimize advertising and promotion of the devices, the Associated Press reported.
According to the U.N. agency, e-cigarette sales have already grown into a $3 billion market worldwide. And regulation "is a necessary precondition for establishing a scientific basis on which to judge the effects of their use, and for ensuring that adequate research is conducted and the public health is protected and people made aware of the potential risks and benefits."
The announcement comes a day after the release of similar recommendations by the American Heart Association (AHA). The cardiologists' group urged that e-cigarettes be subject to the same laws that apply to tobacco products, and they recommended that the U.S. government ban the marketing and sale of e-cigarettes to young people.
The AHA also called for thorough and continuous research on e-cigarette use, marketing and long-term health effects.
"Over the last 50 years, 20 million Americans died because of tobacco. We are fiercely committed to preventing the tobacco industry from addicting another generation of smokers," Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association, said in an association news release.
"Recent studies raise concerns that e-cigarettes may be a gateway to traditional tobacco products for the nation's youth, and could renormalize smoking in our society," Brown said. "These disturbing developments have helped convince the association that e-cigarettes need to be strongly regulated, thoroughly researched and closely monitored."
The recommendations were published
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