Federal authorities last week released some stunning data about use of electronic cigarettes among youth. Published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the data show that not only did 13.4% of high school students report current e-cigarette use (on at least one day in the past 30) in 2014, but that level of use means that more high schoolers are now using e-cigarettes than conventional cigarettes.
“We want parents to know that nicotine is dangerous for kids at any age, whether it's an e-cigarette, hookah, cigarette or cigar,” said Thomas Frieden, MD, MPH, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC and the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA's) Center for Tobacco Products last week released the data from the National Youth Tobacco Survey, showing that current e-cigarette use among high schoolers rose from 4.5% in 2013 to 13.4% last year (the figures for middle school students were 1.1% in 2013 and 3.9% in 2014).
Current use of conventional cigarettes by high schoolers, by comparison, was 9.2% and has been declining.
“In today's rapidly evolving tobacco marketplace, the surge in youth use of novel products like e-cigarettes forces us to confront the reality that the progress we have made in reducing youth cigarette smoking rates is being threatened,” said Mitch Zeller, director of the Center for Tobacco Products. The FDA is in the midst of a rulemaking process that will place e-cigarettes under the agency's tobacco control authority.