WHO Says e-Cigarettes Do Not Reduce Cancer, Juul Makers Face Congressional Hearing

The World Health Organization (WHO) said electronic cigarettes (e-Cigarettes) and heated tobacco products do not help reduce cancer. The seventh WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic also said that these products are “not harmless” and should be considered for regulation as harmful products.

The report recommends regulation

WHO recommends that the regulation of these products include:

  1. impeding the promotion of these agents to and uptake by non-smokers, pregnant women, and youth
  2. minimizing potential health risks to users and non-user
  3. prohibiting unproven health claims from being made about these products
  4. protecting existing tobacco-control efforts from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry

The report said that recent U.S. and European surveys have shown marked increases in e-Cigarette use in younger people. Use of these products exposes young people to nicotine, which can have long-term effects on the developing brain and increase the risk of addiction. “There is a growing body of evidence in some settings that never-smoker minors who use [these products] at least double their chance of starting to smoke cigarettes later in life,” the report stated, noting that these products have the potential to undermine tobacco control efforts.

“The tobacco industry has a long history of systemic, aggressive, sustained and well-resourced opposition to tobacco control measures,” the report said. “While some strategies are public and others more covert … all have the goal of weakening tobacco control.”

e-Cigarette Maker on the Hill

Last week, the makers of Juul, an e-Cigarette product, and tobacco opponents testified on Capitol Hill in a hearing on the company’s role in “the youth nicotine epidemic,” according to the House Oversight Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy. Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), the chairman of the subcommittee, said the panel was investigating Juul and asked the company to “provide memoranda and communications regarding its social media practices, advertising, and the product’s long-term impact on consumer health.”

Juul Labs co-founder James Monsees testified that Juul developed the device for adult smokers who want to quit but acknowledged that statistics show “a significant number of underage Americans are using e-Cigarettes, including Juul products.”

However, Robert Jackler, MD, of Stanford University, said that Juul’s early promotions mimicked tactics used by cigarette makers.

Sources: Reuters, CNN: #Juul: Study makes the case for stricter regulation on e-cigarette marketing, CNN: Congressional hearing probes Juul’s role in youth vaping ‘epidemic’, Washington Post