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Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association (SFATA) Comments on American Heart Association (AHA) Policy Statement on Vapor Products, Including E-Cigarettes

WASHINGTON, DC -- (Marketwired) -- 08/26/14 -- SFATA, the largest trade organization in the world dedicated to the advocacy, education, and outreach on behalf of the vapor products industry, has reviewed the American Heart Association's policy statement regarding vapor products such as electronic cigarettes. AHA's statement recognizes the significant role that vapor products can play in reducing the harm associated with combustible cigarettes, which is shared by SFATA.

"We are particularly pleased that AHA's report recognizes the magnitude of benefits that vaporizers such as electronic cigarettes offer to smokers as tools that can help reduce cigarette-induced diseases," says Phil Daman, SFATA's president and chairman. "While neither SFATA nor its members make any cessation claims, we do believe that AHA's guidance to physicians and counselors in this report are worth highlighting to the extent AHA states: 'If a patient has failed initial treatment, has been intolerant to or refused to use conventional smoking cessation medication, and wishes to use e-cigarettes to aid quitting, it is reasonable to support the attempt.'"

A recent study published by the Society for the Study of Addiction of 6000 smokers showed that those attempting to quit cigarettes were more likely to be successful when using vapor products as opposed to nicotine patches, gum or other OTC therapies. According to study author Dr. Robert West, Director of Tobacco Studies at University College London, "more than 5000 lives could be saved for every million smokers who switched to e-cigarettes."

SFATA has long supported a ban on vapor product access to minors, and has acknowledged the need for uniform product standards across our industry. SFATA launched the Age To Vape™ program earlier this year. The program requires retailers to display signs indicating they do not sell vapor products to minors and to check customer ID before making a sale.

In an interview with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Mitch Zeller, Director for the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products, has stated, "Right now the overwhelming majority of people seeking nicotine are getting it from the deadliest and most toxic delivery system, and that's the conventional cigarettes. But if there is a continuum of risk and there are less harmful ways to get nicotine, and FDA is in the business of regulating virtually all of those products, then I think there's an extraordinary public health opportunity for the agency to embrace some o these principles and to figure out how to incorporate it into regulatory policies."

AHA's report echoes what SFATA pointed out for many months regarding false claims that e-cigarettes are a gateway to smoking. There is no evidence that use of vapor products serve as a gateway to combustible cigarette use among youth or any other population. In fact, the CDC's own statistics show a marked decline among cigarette use among teens during the very years when vapor products have grown fastest. Smoking among high school students has dropped to the lowest levels since the National Youth Risk Behavior Survey began in 1991.

"AHA stated that physicians shouldn't discourage the use of e-cigarettes as a last resort to drop a smoking habit," said Daman. "This is good news for public health advocates, since the ultimate goal is to have people give up combustible cigarettes."

About SFATA

Founded in 2012, The Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association is the largest trade association in the vapor products industry. With 255 members, SFATA builds the networks necessary to support grassroots efforts and research endeavors important to the future of the industry. For more information, visit SFATA.org, email [email protected] or call 202-251-1661.

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