The American Heart Association is changing its position on e-cigarettes.
The market has exploded in the past five years alone, and now one association has gotten on board.
Consumers of the e-cigarettes say it’s about time.
“I breathe better, everything smells better,” said e-cigarette consumer Derek Barrs. “Everything they say about cigarettes is true, just about how it affects your body.”
He’d smoked for nearly 23 years, but after trying e-cigarettes, he said he hasn’t gone back.
“I've tried to go cold turkey on cigarettes before. I've tried the gum, I've tried the patch, I even tried Chantix. None of it worked,” he said.
Merchants like Gabriel Diaz, manager of Extreme Vape Shop in Colorado Springs, sell the liquids and devices used to “vape” and each one has varying nicotine labels.
He agreed it’s an easy way to quit cigarettes.
“You’re still getting a lung-filling feeling, you’re still getting nicotine in your system,” Diaz said.
To clarify, the American Heart Association is not endorsing e-cigarettes. The organization simply said if you're a smoker and you've tried every other means to quit, e-cigarettes may not be a bad alternative.
They contain less toxic substances than traditional cigarettes do, but little is known about their health effects long term.
That concerns most doctors, who are also worried e-cigarettes are marketed to teens, because of the flavors offered.
E-cigarettes don’t fall under Food and Drug Administration regulation, so there’s no way to verify what is in the product.
But users say if it cuts back their cigarette addiction, it’s worth a shot to try.
“You can start at 24 milligrams or 36, and wean yourself down, it's just a good way to get off of it,” Diaz said.
In April, the FDA proposed treating e-cigarettes as tobacco products with rules such as a ban on sales to those under 18 and that the products should have warning labels.
E-cigarettes have been sold in the U.S. since 2007 and now have millions of users worldwide.
They generate $2 billion in sales every year.