(WMC) - The American Heart Association issued new recommendations on the sale and use of electronic cigarettes.
For the first time, AHA classified e-cigarettes as tobacco products.
"Based on the current evidence, our position is that e-cigarettes containing nicotine are tobacco products and therefore should be subject to all laws that apply to tobacco products," Nancy Brown the CEO of AHA said.
This recommendation calls for federal regulators to ban e-cigarette sales to minors and allow current advertising restrictions for cigarette companies to apply to e-cigarettes as well.
The recommendation also says states should be allowed to include e-cigarettes in their smoke-free laws.
Whether the devices help or hurt anti-smoking efforts is a hotly debated topic. Some say they encourage smoking by letting people maintain their habit in places where cigarettes are banned. Others say they are a less risky way to satisfy a nicotine craving for people who want to quit. The American Heart Association recommends they only be used as a last resort.
"At this time there is insufficient evidence to support the claim that e-cigs are affective to help people quit smoking. Therefore, we support the use of e-cigs only as a last resort approach to smoking cessation after repeated efforts with conventional treatment have failed," Brown said.
E-cigarettes have been sold in the U.S. since 2007. Several other groups have already pleaded with the FDA to ban e-cigarette flavors that appeal to children.