- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 29, 2014

More than 50 researchers and public health specialists have warned the World Health Organization not to regulate electronic cigarettes like tobacco products, arguing that low-risk vaporizers are “part of the solution,” not the problem.

“These products could be among the most significant health innovations of the 21st century – perhaps saving hundreds of millions of lives. The urge to control and suppress them as tobacco products should be resisted,” a group of 53 experts wrote in an open letter to WHO Director General Margaret Chan, Reuters reported.

The UN agency has previously indicated it would favor applying restrictions on e-cigs, similar to those placed on tobacco products.

Many smokers have turned to the battery-powered cigarettes to help them quit and the industry is skyrocketing, but there is no scientific consensus on the safety of electronic cigarettes

Many of the devices contain nicotine and allow users to inhale vaporized liquid nicotine instead of tobacco smoke. Some fear e-cigs could be “gateway” products to tobacco smoking, but the scientists said they were “unaware of any credible evidence that supports this conjecture,” Reuters reported.

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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