Controlling e-cigarettes is urgently needed since they are not only damaging people’s health but also not working as a substitute for smoking.
Originally designed to aid smokers in quitting, e-cigarettes are now mostly marketed to young children. There are now no laws governing the sale of e-cigarettes in 74 nations, and there is no minimum age requirement in 88 countries.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the World Health Organisation, has issued a warning, saying, “Kids are being recruited and trapped at an early age to use e-cigarettes and may get hooked to nicotine.”
What adverse consequences might e-cigarettes cause?
Nicotine-containing e-cigarettes are extremely addictive and pose serious health hazards, such as the production of harmful chemicals that are known to cause cancer and an increased risk of lung and heart problems.
The detrimental effects on foetal development in pregnant women and the influence on the development of young users’ brains emphasise how urgent this issue is.
The strategies utilised to target children are highlighted by the Director of Health Promotion at WHO: With at least 16,000 flavours, e-cigarettes target youngsters through social media and influencers. Younger consumers will find certain of these products appealing since they have slick designs and feature cartoon characters.
Younger consumers will find certain of these products appealing since they have slick designs and feature cartoon characters.
The e-cigarette market’s demand? Why is using e-cigarettes so common among young people?
According to recent research, the number of young people using e-cigarettes has alarmingly increased, surpassing adult use rates in many nations. Between 2017 and 2022, the number of 16 to 19-year-olds using e-cigarettes doubled in Canada, while in the last three years, the number of teenage users in England has tripled.
Even more worrisome is the connection between social media exposure to e-cigarette use and the intention to use the product. Research continuously demonstrates that youth e-cigarette users have an almost threefold increased risk of smoking cigarettes in the future.
How do we address this crisis?
The WHO calls for immediate action to address this escalating epidemic, pushing nations to impose stronger laws or outlaw the sale of e-cigarettes. The WHO advises taxing, restricting nicotine content and concentration, and outlawing all flavours in nations that allow commercialization.
Strategies for banning should be supported by research, be a part of an all-encompassing strategy to limit tobacco use, and be closely monitored and assessed.
Governments that use e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation method ought to regulate them like pharmaceuticals, imposing restrictions on access and demanding marketing authorization.
There is still no legal minimum age in 88 nations to purchase e-cigarettes.
Given the growing evidence of minors using e-cigarettes and the health hazards linked with it, global action is imperative to stop the spread of e-cigarettes. To protect the public’s health and prevent youth nicotine addiction, action must be taken.
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