"E-cigarettes have caused a major shift in the tobacco-control landscape," statement author Aruni Bhatnagar, chair of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Louisville, said in the news release.
"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," he urged.
The AHA noted that a recent study found that youth exposure to e-cigarette advertising rose 250 percent from 2011 to 2013, and now reaches roughly 24 million young people.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration needs to immediately implement promised measures to regulate the marketing and sales of e-cigarettes, the AHA said.
"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."
The AHA also wants states to include e-cigarettes in smoke-free laws, but only if changes to include the devices won't weaken existing laws.
While some research suggests that the use of e-cigarettes to help smokers quit may be as or more effective than nicotine patches, there is no evidence to show that e-cigarettes are an effective first-line smoking cessation treatment, the statement said.
Proven methods of helping smokers quit should be tried first. But if they fail, doctors should not discourage the use of e-cigarettes by patients who want to use the devices to try to quit smoking, the AHA said.
"Nicotine is a dangerous and highly addictive chemical no matter what form it takes -- conventional cigarettes or some other tobacco product," AHA President Dr. Elliott Antman said
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