Vaping could be under threat in Britain after the World Health Organisation recommended a ban under new plans, reports say.
Open vaping – which allows people to control their device and its ingredients – could be outlawed if the group’s advice is adopted, it is said.
The organisation fears the method – which is used by millions of Brits – can be more harmful as other substances can be added, reports The Sun on Sunday.
So it is now apparently proposing to prohibit open vaping in plans sent to governments across the globe, which will be considered at a conference in Glasgow later this year.
If adopted, the plans could mean problems for the estimated 2.4million Brits who vape and thousands of businesses which rely on the lucrative sector.
E-cigarettes are already banned in several countries around the world.
Details of the potential prohibition have come out of a published by the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) tobacco regulatory committee, the newspaper said.
It is said to target vapes which allow “the user to control device features and liquid ingredients”, like refilling manually and removing the mouthpiece.
But experts fear the supposed plans could drive more people back towards smoking cigarettes.
Clive Bates, the former director of Action on Smoking and Health, told The Sun on Sunday: “The advice is completely irresponsible and bizarre.
“If governments take it seriously, they will be protecting the cigarette trade, encouraging smoking and adding to a huge toll of cancer, heart and lung disease.
“Something has gone badly wrong here.”
The WHO said earlier this month that “e-cigarettes are harmful to health” in an online post.
It said that the long-term effects of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) are still unknown.
But it added: “The majority of ENDS contain toxic chemicals, including nicotine and substances that can cause cancer
“ENDS on their own are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and lung disorders and adverse effects on the development of the fetus during pregnancy.
“ENDS are undoubtedly harmful, should be strictly regulated, and, most importantly, must be kept away from children.”
The post also said that “it is of particular public health concern that increasingly children and adolescents take up the use of e-cigarettes in some countries”.
It added: “Exposing children and adolescents to nicotine can have long-lasting, damaging effects on brain development and lead to nicotine addiction.”
Public Health England said in March last year that “vaping is not risk free but is far less harmful than smoking”.
But it added: “Our advice remains that people who smoke are better to switch completely to vaping but if you have never been a smoker, don’t start to vape.”