Why is E-Cigarettes Use Among Teens Increasing?


Newly-released federal data reveals that use of e-cigarettes among middle and high school students tripled from 2013 to 2014.

The latest National Youth Tobacco Survey showed that e-cigarette use among high school students increased to 13.4% in 2014 from 4.5% in 2013; an increase to 2 million students from about 660,000. Use among middle school students more than tripled to 3.9% in 2014 from 1.1% in 2013, representing an increase from about 120,000 to 450,000 students.

The data shows that e-cigarette use has surpassed current use of every other tobacco product overall, including conventional cigarettes. E-cigarettes were the most used tobacco product for non-Hispanic whites, Hispanics, and non-Hispanic other race students, while cigars were the most commonly used product among non-Hispanic blacks.

“We want parents to know that nicotine is dangerous for kids at any age, whether it’s an e-cigarette, hookah, cigarette, or cigar,” CDC Director Tom Frieden said in a statement. “Adolescence is a critical time for brain development. Nicotine exposure at a young age may cause lasting harm to brain development, promote addiction, and lead to sustained tobacco use.”

According to the survey, hookah smoking roughly doubled for middle and high school students. Hookah use among high school students rose from 5.2% in 2013, to 9.4% in 2014. Among middle school students, hookah use rose from 1.1% in 2013, to 2.5% in 2014.

At the same time, cigarette use declined among high school students and remained unchanged for middle school students.

The increase in e-cigarette and hookah use offset declines in use of more traditional products such as cigarettes and cigars. There was no decline in overall tobacco use between 2011 and 2014.

The report says that reducing youth tobacco use and initiation is achievable through regulation of the manufacturing, distribution, and marketing of tobacco products coupled with proven strategies. In addition, it is critical comprehensive tobacco control and prevention strategies for youth focus on all tobacco products and not just cigarettes, as the use of e-cigarettes and hookahs is on the rise among high and middle school students.

Earlier, we reported that U.S. minors can easily buy e-cigarettes through online shops. A study funded by the National Cancer Institute in North Carolina showed that minors, especially teenagers, can buy e-cigarettes online without any problem. The rate of success of minors purchasing e-cigarettes online is 93%.

E-cigarettes first entered the U.S. market in 2007. Last year, the Food and Drug Administration proposed putting e-cigarettes under the same category in federal law as tobacco. That means that selling e-cigarettes to minors would be forbidden.

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About the author

Nadeem has more than 5 years of experience as a news writer/editor. He started his career as a business news reporter at a Virginia-based financial research firm in 2008. At Morning Ledger, Nadeem is responsible for writing news stories on health and science topics.