E-Cigarette Use in US School Students Triples

E-Cigarette Use in US School Students TriplesE-Cigarette Use in US School Students Triples

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Tobacco Products reveals that the use of electronic cigarettes tripled among middle and high school students between 2013 and 2014, from 4.5% to 13.4%.

The report’s findings show that, for this first time since 2011 - when collection of data on electronic cigarette use began - the use of e-cigarettes among this population has exceeded use of all other tobacco products - including conventional cigarettes.

Dr. Tom Frieden, director of CDC, says the findings are “worrisome.” He notes there are a number of concerns surrounding the use of e-cigarettes among youth, reports

“We’re concerned that there are multiple aspects of e-cigarette use that are concerning that includes addiction to nicotine, effects on the developing brain, and the significant likelihood that a proportion of those who are using e-cigarettes will go on to use combustible cigarettes,” he adds.

The report’s findings were drawn from the 2014 National Youth Tobacco Survey - a questionnaire completed by a nationally representative sample of middle and high school students in the US, which gathers information on current tobacco use.

The survey collected such data between 2011 and 2014 from more than 22,000 students in grades 6-12 who attended public or private schools.

The survey revealed that between 2011 and 2014, current use of e-cigarettes - defined as using an e-cigarette at least once in the past 30 days - among middle and high school students increased significantly.

 Significant Increase

The biggest increase was seen between 2013 and 2014. Current e-cigarette use among high school students almost tripled in this 1 year, from 4.5% to 13.4% - a rise from 660,000 high school students using e-cigarettes in 2013 to 2 million in 2014. E-cigarette use also tripled among middle school students in this period, from 1.1% (120,000) in 2013 to 3.9% (450,000) in 2014.

The report also revealed an increase in current hookah smoking; it almost doubled in high students between 2013 and 2014, from 5.2% (770,000) to 9.4% (1.3 million), making hookah the most commonly used product after e-cigarettes last year. In middle school students, current hookah use increased from 1.1% (120,000) in 2013 to 2.5% (280,000) in 2014.

Between 2011 and 2014, there was no reduction in overall tobacco use. Overall rates of any tobacco use in 2014 stood at 24.6% for high school students and 7.7% for middle school students.

Though decreases were found in the use of conventional cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, cigars and pipes, the rise in e-cigarette and hookah use offset these reductions.