Health & wellbeing

The World Medical Association (WMA), echoing concerns raised by the World Health Organization (WHO), has issued a stern warning about the dangers of electronic cigarettes and other electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS). This warning comes amidst rising global popularity of e-cigarettes, particularly among young people, and a lack of adequate regulation in many countries.

Dr. Lujain Alqodmani, President of the WMA, emphasized the urgent need for government action to safeguard children and adolescents. She highlighted the alarming situation reported by the WHO, where 88 countries have no minimum age restriction for purchasing e-cigarettes, and 74 countries lack regulations for these harmful products.

The United States, one of the few countries actively monitoring e-cigarette usage among youth, reported worrying statistics in a recent survey by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The survey found that 27.9 percent of high school students (Grades 9-13) used tobacco products, with e-cigarettes being the most popular choice at 22.6 percent. This trend likely mirrors the situation in many other countries.

Earlier this year, the WMA published its revised Statement on Electronic Cigarettes and Other Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems, calling for enhanced protection of children and adolescents. Dr. AlQodmani stated, “These products must be considered harmful and not safe. Sale, marketing, distribution, and accessibility of e-cigarettes and other tobacco products to children and adolescents must be prohibited.”

The WMA urges that e-cigarettes be regulated under the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and subject to smoke-free laws and regulations in various jurisdictions. This call to action aims to curb the rising tide of e-cigarette usage among young people and address the public health challenge posed by these products. The association's stance reinforces the growing global consensus on the need for more stringent controls on e-cigarettes to protect public health, particularly the health of younger generations.