The group has taken a remarkably measured stance on e-cigarettes, suggesting in a lengthy statement this weekend that the technology could help smokers quit, and refraining from outright condemning the tech, like other organizations have.
It’s something of a win for the industry, which is expected to top $5 billion in revenues this year. At every turn, health groups and politicians have taken shots at vaping and the companies who make e-liquid, suggesting that they are every bit as dangerous as cigarettes, despite there being some evidence (and the common sense-argument) that they’re leaps and bounds safer than combustibles.
The AHA had avoided making any sort of statement until now. In a 20-page policy paper, the association cites research that suggests vaping is less dangerous than smoking and suggests it can be used as a smoking cessation aid.
“E-cigarettes either do not contain or have lower levels of several tobacco-derived harmful and potentially harmful constituents compared with cigarettes and smokeless tobacco,” it states. E-cigarettes also “present an opportunity for harm reduction if smokers use them as substitutes for cigarettes.”
That’s not to say that the AHA wholeheartedly endorses the use of e-cigarettes. Like many other health organizations (and like some in the industry itself), the group suggests that e-cigs should be regulated much like tobacco products are now, and it also cites the oft-stated worry that e-cigs could “renormalize” tobacco use and serve as a gateway for children and teens to get into smoking.