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E-cigarettes with nicotine require restrictions: AHA

The American Heart Association (AHA) has issued new policy recommendations on the utilization of e-cigarettes and their impact on tobacco-control efforts.

The AHA's stance is that e-cigarettes containing nicotine should be considered tobacco products and must be subjected to all the laws that apply to these products.

The association issued new policy recommendations that recommend a U.S. ban on e-cigarettes for minors, strict laws on advertising and marketing the products and a ban on flavorings.

Moreover, the association reviewed current proof in areas such as design and operation of the devices, regulation, preventing youth access, public health, advertising to youth, safety, health effects, nicotine content, counselling for cessation and secondhand exposure. The policy statement is published in the heart journal Circulation.

According to Health Canada, e-cigarettes with a health claim or nicotine are not authorized for sale in Canada.

The sale of e-cigarettes is prohibited in Switzerland, Singapore, Panama, Mexico, Brazil, Australia, and allowed in most others, including the U.S., the paper's authors said.

According to Aruni Bhatnagar, who is the paper's lead author and chair of cardiovascular medicine at University of Louisville, e-cigarettes have caused a major shift in the tobacco-control landscape.

Advocators of e-cigarette have said that it provides a health benefit if individuals who smoke conventional cigarettes switch or reduce their cigarette smoking habit.

The use of e-cigarettes can pose problems at a population level, such as if they promote nicotine addiction, especially among children and their use re-normalizes smoking behavior, the authors said.