E-Cigarettes Use Among Teenagers Triples

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported their recent findings from their annual National Youth Tobacco Survey. From a sample of about 20,000 schoolchildren, they found that e-cigarette use among middle and high school students tripled between 2013 and 2014. E-cigarette use among middle school students rose from 1.1 percent to 3.9 percent while use among high school students rose from 4.5 percent to 13.4 percent. 

All the numbers translates to the following statistics according to the New York Times and National Public Radio:

  • 4.6 million young people used tobacco in some form last year. 
  • 450,000 middle school students now use e-cigarettes.
  • 2 million high school students are also using e-cigarettes. 

There are two different perspectives of e-cigarettes. On one hand, cigarette use among teenagers dropped by 25 percent between 2013 and 2014 and the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes are still being tested. Students from the New York Times article also said that e-cigarettes have helped them quit smoking cigarettes and marijuana. 

On the other hand, the CDC and Food and Drug Administration worry e-cigarettes are encouraging a new generation of smokers among teenagers. Some students interviewed on the New York Times article said they started smoking e-cigarettes because they “liked being part of the trend and enjoyed the taste.” Doctors also worry that teenagers’ exposure to nicotine may harm their brain development and are concerned that early use may lead to substance addiction. 

The FDA is currently deciding ways to regulate e-cigarettes. 

Read the New York Times and NPR articles here.