The e-cigarette industry had seen a huge demand for the product in the past few months. There have been several celebrities switching to e-cigarettes with accompanied by media reports that stated that the product was beneficial in helping one quit smoking. They were also believed to be a healthy alternative. However, the American Heart Association (AHA) have announced that the product was equal to a regular cigarette and is not a healthy alternative. It has called for strict regulations to prevent the access to the product by banning its sales and marketing.
The AHA stated that more research has to be done to assess the product's impact on the user's health. It has also recommended a ban on the product for minors as it could lead to a nicotine addiction. Nancy Brown, CEO of the AHA, said that there were 20 million American deaths caused due to smoking and a promotion of e-cigarettes would only add to the creation of a new generation of smokers. "We are fiercely committed to preventing the tobacco industry from addicting another generation of smokers," she said.
The AHA also referred to a study that involved 40,000 middle and high school students. The study found the majority of them preferred e-cigarettes as it is considered "not harmful", it is easily available, and can be used anywhere, including places where smoking is prohibited. Drawing from this study and evidence that confirm the presence of nicotine and tobacco in the e-cigarettes, the association is pushing for a strict regulation on the sale of the product. It states that the product should be subjected to all the laws that apply to regular cigarettes.
Brown said that the studies suggest that e-cigarettes would turn out to be "a gateway to traditional tobacco products for the nation's youth, and could renormalise smoking in our society." She added that this calls not just for a strict regulation but also for an in depth research and close monitoring of the product.
Aruni Bhatnagar, chair of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Louisville, expressed his concern over the recent shift in the tobacco industry towards e-cigarettes. He stated that it was extremely essential to look in to the long term impact of the product's use on the public's cardiovascular health.
Though there is lesser amount of toxic substances in e-cigarettes, the use of it in public would definitely affect the health of the other non smokers, exposing them to nicotine. It is also spreading the perception of smoking in public to be normal. The AHA also cited a study that found a 250 per cent increase in the use of e-cigarettes from 2011 to 2013, reaching 24 million young people. If controlled now, it could help save several from tobacco related diseases.