E-cigarette use triples among U.S. youth

E-cigarette use triples among U.S. youth

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

E-cigarette use among U.S. middle and high school students tripled from 2013 to 2014, according to data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Tobacco Products.

Findings from the 2014 National Youth Tobacco Survey show that current e-cigarette use among high school students increased from 4.5 percent in 2013 to 13.4 percent in 2014, rising from approximately 660,000 to 2 million students. Among middle school students, current e-cigarette use more than tripled from 1.1 percent in 2013 to 3.9 percent in 2014—an increase from approximately 120,000 to 450,000 students. This is the first time since the survey started collecting data on e-cigarettes in 2011 that use has surpassed current use of every other tobacco product overall, including conventional cigarettes.

FDA's Mitch Zeller called it "an extraordinary jump, and something that we are very concerned about from a public health perspective."

CDC Director Tom Frieden said, “We want parents to know that nicotine is dangerous for kids at any age, whether it’s an e-cigarette, hookah, cigarette or cigar.” 

However, in an opinion piece for The New York Times about the survey results, columnist Joe Nocera pointed out: "Actual cigarette smoking — the kind that requires inhaling carcinogens, that kills one out of every two long-term smokers and that public health officials have been trying to eradicate for decades — that kind of smoking has dropped to a mere 9.2 percent among teens.

"That is a 25 percent drop in a year, a nearly 42 percent drop since 2011—and the first time that teen smoking in America has ever hit single digits."

The National Youth Tobacco Survey is the only nationally representative survey of middle and high school students focusing exclusively on patterns of tobacco use.

For a look at behavioral health indicators in our Gulf Coast communities, go here.