(WBIR-Knox County) It was about a month ago when a review from the Addiction Journal was published, saying the potential benefits of electronic cigarettes outweigh the harm.
It was a couple of weeks after that when the American Heart Association issued a statement saying they need to be regulated, and fast.
"Electronic cigarettes need to be strongly regulated- and quickly- to prevent another generation of young people from becoming addicted to nicotine." Nancy Brown, CEO of the heart association, said in a statement.
This statement points to studies suggesting e-cigarettes could serve as a "gateway drug" to addict young people.
"We know nicotine causes heart disease," said Bernard Reynolds with the American Heart Association. "We know that nicotine is addictive. These products are providing nicotine to the children."
The association pointed to flavors in e-cigarettes, such as gummy bears, arguing they are intended to attract kids. But some vapor shops here in East Tennessee say there is a reason behind the flavors.
"Any flavor that is going to help somebody quit smoking is a flavor we're going to sell. If baby formula is a working flavor, I'll sell a baby formula flavor if that helps someone quit smoking," said Seth Barber, General Manager of eVape. "We as an industry, and most reputable shops that we know don't sell under 18 anyway even though it's not technically illegal yet."
Barber agrees there needs to be regulations on some things, including foreign made juices.
"Having some sort of verification system would be nice. It would be nice to see some accountability for your product," he said.
He added that there are tons of reports on e-cigarettes and they are all conflicting.
"To date everything I've seen, there's not a lot of true fact behind their reason in trying to regulate it. There's not a lot of long term studies out there and stuff like that," he said.
Regardless, the American Heart Association is asking the FDA to put the proposed rules in place before the end of the year. They believe any additional delay will have "real, continuing public health consequences."
"We certainly don't want to have an avenue for our teenagers to become the next generation of tobacco and cigarette users," Reynolds said.
Barber said he would like to sit down with members of the AHA or government officials to have a round table discussion to clear the air and know where everyone stands.