In a statement published in the European Respiratory Journal this week, a coalition of respiratory specialists from six continents calls for an immediate ban on E-cigarette flavourings and on the practice of marketing e-cigarettes as lower-risk alternatives to conventional cigarettes in children and adolescents.
The Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS), a coalition of nine organisations from North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia, says there is mounting evidence that e-cigarettes damage health and are highly addictive, yet manufacturers are marketing them as “healthier” cigarettes and their popularity among young people is growing.
Previous research has shown that children and adolescents are highly susceptible to nicotine addiction, and that the use of e-cigarettes has risen steeply in this age group to become the most commonly used tobacco-related product among adolescents in some countries.
The FIRS statement puts forward a series of expert recommendations to “protect this vulnerable group”. It advises that e-cigarettes should be regulated in the same way as tobacco products and should be included in smoke-free policies. It also calls for a global ban on sales to youths and says advertising e-cigarettes as lower-risk alternatives should cease. The group also calls for a ban on flavoured products, as flavourings may entice younger users.