WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – The American Heart Association (AHA) is recommending that electronic cigarettes be subjected to tougher regulations.

The AHA’s new policy statement recommends that the federal government ban e-cigarettes for minors. The organization believes that tougher laws are needed to block young people’s access to e-cigarettes and to govern the marketing and sales of the products to young people.

In recommending the regulations, the AHA cited that multiple studies suggest e-cigarettes are a gateway to traditional cigarettes and that they can also lead to nicotine addiction.

Currently, cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, tobacco and other products are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. However, “only e-cigarettes that are marketed for therapeutic purposes are currently regulated by the FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER),” the agency cited.

Advertising, celebrity endorsements and flavor additives advertising would also be controlled to not appeal to young people under the AHA recommendations.

The new policy statement explains that e-cigarettes that contain nicotine are still considered tobacco products and shouldn’t be treated differently under the current laws that ban the sale of tobacco products to minors. The AHA also suggested that the laws in place to ban smokers from public spaces should also apply to people who use e-cigarettes.

The AHA is calling for more research into the heal effects of e-cigarettes. A study that was recently published in the journal Pediatrics demonstrated that e-cigarette advertising increased 250 percent between 2011 and 2013 and reached roughly 24 million minors.

“E-cigarettes have caused a major shift in the tobacco-control landscape,” Aruni Bhatnagar, lead author of the study and chair of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Louisville, said in a statement.  “It’s critical that we rigorously examine the long-term impact of this new technology on public health, cardiovascular disease and stroke, and pay careful attention to the effect of e-cigarettes on adolescents.”

The new recommendations by the AHA were published in the journal Circulation.


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