With growing rates of e-cigarette use in America, it comes as little surprise that teenagers have taken to the devices to get their fix. E-cigarettes give the user the feeling of smoking a cigarette, a nicotine buzz, and are practically odorless. Last Thursday, federal data was released which showed that use of e-cigarettes among middle- and high school students tripled from 2013 to 2014, The New York Times reports. Of high school students, more teenagers are using e-cigarettes (13 percent), than those who smoke traditional cigarettes.
Between 2011 to 2014, the number of high school students using tobacco cigarettes declined, from 16 percent to 9 percent. However, in 2014 the report found that the use of e-cigarettes and hookah led to 400,000 additional teenagers using a tobacco product of some kind, according to the article. Last year, 4.6 million teenagers used some form of tobacco product.
The drop in traditional tobacco use and rise in e-cigarette use could mean that young people are using the devices as smoking cessation aids.
“They’re not a gateway in, and they might be accelerating the gateway out,” said David B. Abrams, Executive Director of the Schroeder Institute for Tobacco Research and Policy Studies, an anti-tobacco group.
While that trend seems fairly benign, many teens report using e-cigarettes because they enjoy the taste and like being part of the growing fad.
This is a really bad thing,” said CDC Director Dr. Thomas R. Frieden. “This is another generation being hooked by the tobacco industry. It makes me angry.”
The lack of research and growing popularity of e-cigarettes has many health organizations calling on federal government agencies to place tighter sanctions on the devices. It is quite easy for minors to acquire e-cigarettes and the nicotine juices that teens are vaporizing are sold in fruity flavors that are appealing to teenagers.