While some have touted e-cigarettes as a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes, the American Heart Association (AHA) has issued an official statement saying that e-cigarettes are still dangerous, and should only be used as a "last resort" for people trying to quit smoking.
The policy statement, published Monday in the journal Circulation, calls for a complete overhaul of America's attitude toward e-cigarettes, which would include tighter laws and regulations. E-cigarettes aren't regulated by the FDA yet (and aren't approved by the FDA to help people quit smoking), and not much research has been done about their health impact. Despite this, the e-cigarette is a booming industry that is expected to make $10 billion by 2017.
Many people are also concerned with the e-cigarette industry's penchant for marketing its products to young people. A CDC study published Monday in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research found that more than 250,000 youth tried e-cigarettes in 2013, triple the number who had tried e-cigarettes since 2011. In its policy statement, the AHA said that e-cigarettes should be subject to federal taxes and regulated by the same laws as traditional tobacco products. The AHA is also pushing for a complete ban of e-cigarette sales to minors.
Perhaps the U.S. can take a cue from Canada — Toronto banned e-cigarettes from city workplaces on Monday. (And if you're wondering, Mayor Rob Ford reportedly cast one of just two votes against the ban.)