The World Health Organization (WHO) is spreading “blatant misinformation” about the potential risks and benefits of e-cigarettes, according to two U.K. researchers.
In a document released Monday, the WHO expressed reservations about e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes “are harmful to health and are not safe, but it is too early to provide a clear answer on the long-term impact of using them or being exposed to them,” the WHO stated. “There is not enough evidence to support the use of these products for smoking cessation.”
John Britton, director of the U.K. Centre for Tobacco & Alcohol Studies, countered that e-cigarettes are “clearly less harmful” than combustible cigarettes. “[The] WHO misrepresents the available scientific evidence,” he said.
“The WHO has a history of anti-vaping activism that is damaging their reputation,” said Peter Hajek, director of the Tobacco Dependence Research Unit at Queen Mary University of London. “This document is particularly malign. There is no evidence that vaping is ‘highly addictive.’”
Public Health England maintains that vaping is “at least 95 percent less harmful than smoking cigarettes,” but that claim was disputed earlier this month in the American Journal of Public Health.