The jury is still out on whether or not e-cigarettes can help smokers kick the habit.  But either way, the World Health Organization is calling for tougher regulations on the products in terms of indoor use, advertising to children, and sales.

In a new report released today, the World Health Organization about the largely unregulated $3 billion e-cigarette industry.  

Over the past few years, sales of e-cigarettes have skyrocketed as smokers have turned to them in efforts to quit.  The bottom line is that they may help and they may not.  The science isn't conclusive in either direction.  But what regulators do know is that more research needs to be done to determine if e-cigarettes themselves are safe - and the onus of that research on proving their safety should rest with the companies that are producing them.

There are 466 brands of e-cigarettes, and the industry represents "an evolving frontier filled with promise and threat for tobacco control", the WHO said in the report.

The report called for stronger regulatory options such as banning vending machines in most locations and preventing e-cigarette makers from claiming that e-cigarettes can help smokers quit.  

Another major concern is that e-cigarettes could attract children to smoking.  With flavors ranging from bacon to fruit to bubble gum, e-cigarettes could be far too tempting to kids.

The WHO report is slated for debate at the October meeting of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. The treaty, which aims to curb cigarette smoking and tobacco use, has been signed by nearly 180 countries since it was ratified 2005.

Related posts on MNN:

The opinions expressed by MNN Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of MNN.com. While we have reviewed their content to make sure it complies with our Terms and Conditions, MNN is not responsible for the accuracy of any of their information.