The American Heart Association (AHA) thinks that electronic cigarettes, or ‘e-cigarettes’, need to be carefully regulated, especially if they contain nicotine.
On Monday the AHA released several new recommendations for helping control the distribution and usage of e-cigarettes, which use a battery-powered vaporizer to simulate tobacco smoking. E-cigarettes have become very controversial since they entered the mainstream last year, primarily because the tobacco-less devices are being used by — and even marketed at — young people.
That’s why AHA president Dr. Elliott Antman says it’s time to impose strict laws on e-cigarette advertising. Antman also believes smoke-free laws should apply to e-cigarettes because “it’s not clear if the vapour from electronic cigarettes is safe.”
“We do know that nicotine can have harmful effects not only on the user of an electronic cigarette, but also those who are exposed to high concentrations of nicotine in the vapours if they are in an enclosed space,” Antman added.
The United States is hardly the only nation grappling with the e-cigarette phenomenon. Right now e-cigarettes are banned in Australia, Brazil, Mexico, Panama, Singapore and Switzerland — though that doesn’t mean they’re difficult to acquire.
E-cigarettes do have their defenders, however, most of whom believe the devices can help people quit smoking traditional cigarettes.
But critics note that even if they don’t contain tobacco or dangerous chemicals, e-cigarettes normalize — even romanticize — the act of smoking. Given that e-cigarettes are often acquired by children and teenagers, that’s a huge concern for medical experts.