WHO review exaggerated dangers of e-cigarettes, say specialists

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 05 September 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g5501
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

British specialists in smoking cessation have accused the World Health Organization of exaggerating the dangers of electronic cigarettes in guidance that they say misinterpreted the evidence and is likely to cost many lives.

A recent WHO report called for greater regulation of e-cigarettes.1 But the report was largely based on a review commissioned by WHO2 that misunderstood and misrepresented the evidence, said Ann McNeill, of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies at King’s College London, and colleagues in a critique published in Addiction.3 Separately, Robert West of University College London and editor in chief of Addiction, has co-written an editorial in the British Journal of General Practice dismissing the concerns raised by WHO and others, including the BMA, and calling for a more objective view to …

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