By Stephanie Nebehay
GENEVA (Reuters) - The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday called for regulation of electronic cigarettes as well as bans on indoor use, advertising and sales to minors.
In a long-awaited report that will be debated by member states at a meeting in October in Moscow, the United Nations health agency also voiced concern at the concentration of the $3 billion market in the hands of transnational tobacco companies.
The WHO declared war on "Big Tobacco" a decade ago, clinching the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the world's first public health treaty that has been ratified by 179 states since entering into force in 2005.
Prior to Tuesday's report it had indicated it would favor applying similar restrictions to all nicotine-containing products including smokeless ones.
The WHO urged a range of "regulatory options", including prohibiting e-cigarette makers from making health claims - such as that they help people quit smoking - until they provide "convincing supporting scientific evidence and obtain regulatory approval".
E-cigarettes should be regulated to "minimize content and emissions of toxicants", and those solutions with fruit, candy-like and alcohol-drinks flavors should be banned, it said. Vending machines should be removed in almost all locations.
Electronic cigarettes may be more tempting to non-smoking youths than conventional cigarettes, and once young people have tried e-cigarettes they are more inclined to give regular cigarettes a try, U.S. researchers said on Monday.
(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay,; Editing by Angus MacSwan)