E-cigarette use doubled in one year in middle and high schools

Nov. 15, 2013 at 12:41 AM
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ATLANTA, Nov. 15 (UPI) -- Electronic cigarette use doubled among U.S. middle school students from 0.6 percent in 2011 to 1.1 percent in 2012, health officials say.

A report in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report found e-cigarettes rose among high school students from 1.5 percent to 2.8 percent. Hookah use among high school students rose from 4.1 percent to 5.4 percent from 2011-12.

The report also said the increase in the use of electronic cigarettes and hookahs could be due to an increase in marketing, availability and visibility of these tobacco products and the perception that they might be safer alternatives to cigarettes.

Electronic cigarettes, hookahs, cigars and certain other new types of tobacco products are not currently subject to U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulation. FDA has stated it intended to issue a proposed rule that would deem products meeting the statutory definition of a "tobacco product" to be subject to the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

During 2011-12, cigar use increased dramatically among non-Hispanic black high school students from 11.7 percent to 16.7 percent, and has more than doubled since 2009, the report said.

Further, cigar use among high school males in 2012 was 16.7 percent, similar to cigarette use among high school males at 16.3 percent, the report said.

"This report raises a red flag about newer tobacco products," Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, said in a statement. "Cigars and hookah tobacco are smoked tobacco -- addictive and deadly. We need effective action to protect our kids from addiction to nicotine."

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