AHA E-Cigarette Recommendations
The American Heart Association issued new policy recommendations August 25th 2014 on the use of e-cigarettes and their impact on tobacco-control efforts. The guidance was published in the association’s journal, Circulation.
Based on the current evidence, the association’s position is that e-cigarettes that contain nicotine are tobacco products and should be subject to all laws that apply to these products. The association also calls for strong new regulations to prevent access, sales and marketing of e-cigarettes to youth, and for more research into the product’s health impact.
A release from the association quotes Nancy Brown, CEO, as saying, “Over the last 50 years, 20 million Americans died because of tobacco. We are fiercely committed to preventing the tobacco industry from addicting another generation of smokers,” said Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association. “Recent studies raise concerns that e-cigarettes may be a gateway to traditional tobacco products for the nation’s youth, and could renormalize smoking in our society. These disturbing developments have helped convince the association that e-cigarettes need to be strongly regulated, thoroughly researched and closely monitored.”
“E-cigarettes have caused a major shift in the tobacco-control landscape,” said Aruni Bhatnagar, Ph.D. FAHA, lead author and chair of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Louisville. “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 policy statement recommends a federal ban on e-cigarettes for minors and details concerns that these products may be another entry point for nicotine addiction among young people. The authors cite one JAMA Pediatrics study of 40,000 middle and high school students that indicated adolescents consider e-cigarettes as high-tech, accessible and convenient, especially in places where smoking cigarettes is not allowed.
Echoing its recent comment letter on the Food and Drug Administration’s proposed tobacco oversight rule, the association recommends strict laws that curb the intense marketing and advertising of e-cigarettes, and ban flavorings in these products.
Ads using celebrities and alluring flavors make the products more appealing to children and adolescents. A recent Pediatrics study cited youth exposure to e-cigarettes advertising skyrocketed over 250 percent from 2011 to 2013, effectively reaching 24 million young people.
“In the years since the FDA first announced it would assert its authority over e-cigarettes the market for these products has grown dramatically,” Brown said. “We fear that any additional delay of these new regulations will have real, continuing public health consequences. Hence, we urge the agency to release the tobacco deeming rule by the end of this year.”