The American Heart Association is among 16 leading national health organizations who have signed a joint letter to President Obama asking for faster adoption of new tobacco regulations that would give the Food and Drug Administration more control of currently unregulated items such as e-cigarettes.

In the letter dated Thursday, the health groups said the FDA must move faster to make sure that new rules currently being drafted become law because children’s health could be at risk. The FDA first announced plans to expand its authority to include e-cigarettes and other items such as candy and fruit-flavored tobacco product two years ago.

“Yet no progress has been made,” the letter, signed by the AHA and others including the  American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Lung Association, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and the American College of Physicians, states. “This delay is having very real public health consequences.”

The AHA cites cigarette smoking as the most preventable cause of premature death in the United States, accounting for more than 440,000 of the more than 2.4 million annual deaths from heart disease.

Because the FDA does not yet regulate e-cigarettes, good information about the components and their potentially harmful contents remain unknown.