E-cigarettes should be outlawed for minors and only be used as a last resort to quit smoking, the American Heart Association says in a new policy statement. And the Food and Drug Administration should hurry up and regulate them, the group says.
New research shows that teens are not using e-cigarettes to quit. The latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey released Monday shows more than 263,000 middle-and high-schoolers who had never smoked before tried e-cigarettes in 2013. That's triple the number from 2011 and reinforces the argument that vaping can be a gateway to nicotine addiction. “Over the last 50 years, 20 million Americans died because of tobacco. We are fiercely committed to preventing the tobacco industry from addicting another generation of smokers,” Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association, says in a statement.
The Food and Drug Administration says it plans to regulate e-cigarettes, along with cigars and other tobacco products. Many “vapers” who use e-cigarettes say regulation will damage a product that’s a far safer substitute for cigarettes. The Heart Association disagrees. “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.”
— Maggie Fox
First published August 24 2014, 9:04 PM
Maggie Fox is senior health writer for NBCNews.com and TODAY.com, writing top news on health policy, medical treatments and disease.
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She's a former managing editor for healthcare and technology at National Journal and global health and science editor for Reuters based in Washington, D.C. and London.
She's reported for news agencies, radio, newspapers, magazines and television from across Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe covering news ranging from war to politics and, of course, health and science. Her reporting has taken Maggie to Lebanon, Syria and Libya; to China, South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines and Pakistan; to Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia and to Ireland and Northern Ireland and across the rest of Europe.
Maggie has won awards from the Society of Business Editors and Writers, the National Immunization Program, the Overseas Press Club and other organizations. She's done fellowships at Harvard Medical School, the National Institutes of Health and the University of Maryland.