E-cigarettes an option to curb smoking? The American Heart Association says yes

BY Anna Christiansen  August 25, 2014 at 6:12 PM EST
Photo by Flickr user  Monica Grigsby.

Photo by Flickr user Monica Grigsby.

The American Heart Association published recommendations Monday to control the e-cigarette market. The policies, featured in Circulation, focus on the role of advertisers and clinicians in dealing with the product, as well as the vitality of more research.

In an unprecedented type of guidance, the AHA cites that electronic cigarettes “may be equal or slightly better than nicotine patches” as a smoking cessation strategy. It urges doctors not to disregard their potential value, and to educate themselves about known risks as to better inform patients.

Nevertheless, the association says proven methods should be the first line of treatment given they are FDA approved. Of particular concern is the liquid involved, which may contain toxic substances. There is no legal direction about what it can contain.

Other recommendations orbit around the fact there is very little research on e-cigs’ long term impacts. The report also vehemently attacks youth marketing. A Pediatrics study AHA refers to claims “youth exposure to e-cigarettes advertising skyrocketed over 250 percent from 2011 to 2013,” and echoed an industry-wide call for banning flavored smoke.

In May, Mitch Ziller, Director of the Center for Tobacco Products at the FDA, joined Judy Woodruff on PBS Newshour to discuss its new regulation. The legislation, which will take years to come into effect, will force manufacturers to register the ingredients they use and officially ban sale to anyone under the age of 18.

Ziller, who focused on a lack of research, warned that the industry is still “the Wild, Wild west. It’s buyers beware.”

A 2009 law regulating smokeless tobacco did not include e-cigs.